FSA assesses money guidance service ahead of national launch

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is assessing the success of the money guidance programme currently available in the North of England ahead of the national launch of a similar service expected to take place next year.

Chancellor Alistair Darling announced in his Budget report that a national money guidance service would be rolled out in 2010. This, however, is subject to the success of the Moneymadeclear pathfinder service, which helps people tackle their money worries and make informed financial decisions.

Following the launch of the service in the North East and North West of the country in April, the FSA have had initial feedback from key delivery partners, including the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and A4E.

Chris Pond, the FSA’s director of financial capability, said: “Overwhelmingly people recognise that this was long overdue and could really fulfil a role. This is a preventative service, this is not about dealing with debt.”

Pond urged employers to view the Moneymadeclear pathfinder, as an extension of the FSA’s Making the most of your money programme, which is often offered in conjunction with employers’ financial education initiatives or as a stand alone session.†

Pond said: “ Moneymadeclear fits well with our overall strategy and employers are pretty critical to making sure the service works. We want employers to alert their staff that this does exist, and that it’s free confidential and impartial.”

He added: “If you have got people that are anxious and worried about their personal finances that is likely to be detrimental in terms of their performance at work.”

The Thoresen Review of generic financial advice recommended a national money guidance service.† The pathfinder aims to reach up to 750,000 people in the North West and the North East of England by spring 2010 and is being delivered by the FSA in partnership with the Treasury.†