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Mas referral programme shouldn’t have entry barriers: Apfa

The Money Advice Service’s referrals process should be kept simple and straightforward, with no barriers for adviser participation, the Association of Professional Financial Advisers said.

Responding to the Mas’ business plan for 2014/15, Apfa said that because all advisers are already required to meet standards set by the Financial Conduct Authority, there should not be additional requirements imposed on them in order for them to be included in the Mas referrals programme.

Apfa added that Mas should give information about advice “sufficient prominence” on the Mas website and that consumers should be encouraged to consider seeking advice.

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Mas announced plans for its referral programme in December of last year, when its chief executive Caroline Rookes said the service will look to recognise when someone needs professional financial advice and is working on ways to more smoothly hand the client over to an adviser.

Apfa also called for Mas to include key performance indicators tied to its own efficiency and effectiveness, and to set a goal to reduce its cost base each year for a set number of years.

In an exclusive video interview with FTAdviser, Apfa director general Chris Hannant said he expects advisers’ Mas levy to fall to less than £2m, compared with £4.5m three years ago.

In January 2013, discussions began on a new funding model for Mas, which at the time was said to have the potential to reduce the adviser levy by up to 93 per cent to a figure in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.