06Jan

The Government has released some details of how its new single financial guidance body will operate. The new organisation, to be launched no earlier than autumn 2018, will combine some of the existing work of The Pensions Advisory Service, Pension Wise and the Money Advice Service (MAS).

The Government says a new guidance body will be “designed to reduce duplication in the provision of public financial guidance and to help consumers find the information they need.”

The new body will have five areas of specialism: occupational and personal pensions; guidance to help avoid financial fraud and scams; debt advice; guidance to improve financial capability; and financial education programmes for children and young people.

It is possible that some elements of the new service will involve directing consumers to seek professional financial advice. The new body will also fund the provision of regulated debt advice.

Guidance on all five areas will be offered via telephone and online. Pensions and debt guidance, and maybe guidance in other areas as well, are expected to be offered on a face-to-face basis.

The organization will be accountable to Parliament and supervision of its activities is expected to be carried out by the Treasury and/or the Department of Work and Pensions.

Initially the levies imposed on financial services firms to fund the guidance body will be similar to the level of the existing levies to fund the MAS and Pension Wise, however the Government has suggested that the burden to be borne by authorised firms will reduce over time. The consultation paper says on this issue:

“The government’s expectation is that the amounts charged to the levies to deliver information and guidance will remain in line with the amounts charged before the new arrangements take effect. However, as the efficiencies generated from merging the three current services into a SFGB begin to materialise, it may be possible to reduce the overall cost over time.”

The new body is not expected to have a ‘brand’ as such, and throughout the consultation document it is simply referred to as ‘the single financial guidance body’ or ‘SFGB’.

The consultation on the proposals ends on February 13 2017.

Pensions minister Richard Harrington MP said:

“We want to ensure that everyone has access to high quality and impartial financial guidance, to help them make the most of their hard earned savings. This new single body will be a place people can go for free, impartial financial guidance, and I look forward to hearing people’s views on our proposals.”

Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby MP, said:

“We want to help people take charge of their finances, and make the financial decisions that are right for them. This new body will ensure that help is readily available for people who need to access debt advice, information on their pensions or guidance on other money matters.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.