‘Mas wasting money on adverts’

Paul Smith, chartered financial planner for Leicestershire-based IFA Provident Solutions, said the Mas advert had appeared on on numerous occasions, despite the site being aimed at “the regular trader, not first-time share purchasers”.

He said: “How on earth can the people who use this website possibly fall into the target audience of Mas? It is sheer madness and a complete waste of money.”

Last week Caroline Rookes, the service’s recently appointed chief executive, was forced to defend its remit to the Treasury select committee, which questioned the Mas budget, its business plans and scope of influence.

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A spokesman for Mas said much of the online advertising it bought was through networks, which was “by far the most cost-effective solution” to suit its customer needs. She added that occasionally a small percentage of websites targeted were not relevant to its customers and that the amount spent on less relevant sites was “substantially offset” by the benefit of buying through a network.