Money Advice Service Launch Comments on the New Personal Finance Services

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Karen Barrett, Chief Executive of unbiased.co.uk, comments on the launch of the Money Advice Service and what it can offer to consumers looking for financial advice.

Karen Barrett, Chief Executive of unbiased.co.uk, comments on the launch of the Money Advice Service: “The service launched by the Money Advice Service helps people to make sense of the personal finance basics, explaining the ground rules of finance to consumers. And while it is important to understand the basics, it only forms part of the financial planning journey. Unbiased.co.uk has long recognised the importance of financial advice for all members of society. Individuals are increasingly being asked to take on responsibility for their own financial futures, and many of them simply aren’t ready to do so by themselves."

Independent financial advice has long been synonymous with the term unbiased advice and whilst independent financial advice is, and must remain, the standard against which other forms of advice are judged in today’s tightly regulated world, independent financial advice has a cost attached to it. The information provided by the Money Advice Service has the potential to guide those people who aren’t catered for by existing forms of advice to lay down some firm financial foundations for their futures. Many of them might, over time, build on those foundations and work with IFAs. However, the Money Advice Service can only take the consumer part of the way, and must stop short of where the consumer enters the tightly regulated space of financial advice. At this point, only financial advisers are able to take the consumer further towards their financial planning goals, with advice on mortgage, investment, retirement and protection needs.

And it is that switchover from unregulated to regulated space that is important to get right and we are looking to the Money Advice Service to ensure that there is a clear guidance from them on where the consumer goes next to get the right financial advice for their needs. And it is IFA s that offer the gold standard of advice – the only advice form able to access products from across the whole market place. We would urge the Money Advice Service to make sure the consumer fully understands their options when it comes to financial advice and to refer them to an independent financial adviser wherever suitable.

Unbiased.co.uk has a long standing record of putting consumers in touch with a local independent financial adviser and in the last year alone, we fulfilled over 450,000 consumer requests for IFAs. Our 15,000 IFAs are well placed to deal with any referrals the Money Advice Service will pass through our ‘find an IFA’ service and in common with unbiased.co.uk’s 60 other referral partners, we are looking forward to working with the Money Advice Service to take consumers along the entire financial planning journey.”

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