Government to replace MAS, TPAS and Pension Wise

21 March 2016

Within the Budget 2016 announcements was the news that the Government is consulting on a restructure of the statutory guidance providers Money Advice Service (MAS), The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) and Pension Wise in order to ensure that consumers can access the help they may need to make effective financial decisions.

In October 2015, the government launched the Public Financial Guidance consultation to seek views on how publicly funded pensions guidance, debt advice and money guidance (including financial capability) could best be structured to help consumers make effective decisions. In parallel, the government and the FCA launched the Financial Advice Market Review to look at making financial advice more affordable and accessible for consumers.

The two reviews have a shared objective of ensuring that all consumers can access the help they need to make effective financial decisions.

Free-to-client financial guidance is currently provided by three publicly funded bodies - The Money Advice Service (MAS), The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) and Pension Wise. Financial guidance is also widely provided by the third sector and the industry.

At the moment there are both gaps in the guidance available to consumers and duplication of content within MAS, TPAS and Pension Wise, which is confusing for consumers. The three publicly funded bodies have independent strategies and business plans and there is no requirement for them to consult the other publicly funded bodies in developing guidance.

The government therefore plans to restructure the delivery of public financial guidance to ensure that consumers can access the help they need to make effective financial decisions. The new delivery model will complement existing market provision, and provide targeted support where it is most needed, including through a comprehensive pensions guidance service. It has been designed to ensure that as much funding as possible can be directed straight to the front line.

The new delivery model will replace the Money Advice Service, and merge the functions of TPAS and Pension Wise. The new delivery model is made up of:

  • A new pensions guidance body charged with making sure that consumers can get all their pensions questions answered in one place. This will incorporate the functions currently provided by TPAS and Pension Wise, and some pensions guidance provided by MAS.
  • A new slimmed down money guidance body, charged with equipping consumers to make more effective financial decisions by:
  • Identifying gaps in the financial guidance market
  • Commissioning targeted debt advice, money guidance and financial capability projects or services to fill any gaps identified
  • Providing funding to third parties to deliver these projects or services.

A partnership agreement will sit between the pensions guidance body and the money guidance body to ensure that consumers who need broader financial guidance on both pensions and money issues can be directed to the right places. The links between the two bodies will be strengthened by cross membership of boards so that the business strategies can be aligned.

The government wants to make sure that the new delivery model improves consumer experience, so welcomes views on how to set up and evaluate the services provided so that they are of most value to the consumer.

Consultation questions are included in Section 2 of the Public financial guidance review: proposal for consultation.

The government will publish a final response in autumn 2016.