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PFS' Richards says drop 'advice' tag from new guidance body

PFS' Richards says drop 'advice' tag from new guidance body

The Personal Finance Society has called for the government to remove the term ‘advice’ from the branding, marketing and communications of its new public financial guidance body.

In 2015 the government announced plans to merge the Money Advice Service with Pension Wise and The Pensions Advisory Service to create a more “joined-up approach”.

In its response to HM Treasury’s consultation on the creation of a single guidance body the PFS said the persistent use of the ‘advice’ label when referring to guidance confused consumers.

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Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said: “We have consistently called for terminology that is consistent with the service being offered and more intuitive for consumers to understand.

“Guidance which may signpost consumers to regulated financial advice when required should not be called advice.

“Any promotion of services offered by the new guidance body must be clear, accurate and not misleading, and we have to make it clear that guidance is not advice in the regulated and qualified sense.

“It is important not to mislead consumers into believing that they will be receiving regulated financial advice, which carries full consumer protection with it.”

The PFS said the broader use of the term actually creates confusion and misapprehension, especially when guidance is the service being offered.

It also urged the government to position guidance as a signpost, not a substitute, to the retail financial services market and implement a statutory objective to work more closely with the financial advice sector.

HM Treasury published its consultation on the new body in December ahead of its launch in 2018.

HM Treasury said it intends to continue to levy the financial services and pensions industry to fund the new body, as it currently does for Mas and Pensions Wise.