Generic financial advice
Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have been working with the Personal Finance Society to recruit their member Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) to volunteer in bureaux, providing generic financial advice to clients on low and middle incomes.
Generic financial advice helps people cope with understanding and planning their finances without promoting the sale of any product. The Thoresen Review, commissioned by the Treasury and published in March 2008 recommended to government that a national money guidance service be established, delivering just such advice. 12 Citizens Advice Bureaux in the North East are the key delivery partner for the face to face element of the Moneymadeclear pathfinder for this service.
An original pilot for MoneyPlan, carried out in 2005 involved eight bureaux and tested three models of delivering advice. The evaluation concluded that IFAs based within bureaux was the marginally preferred model. With funding from Barclays and Aegon UK, Citizens Advice has developed the model on a national basis for two years until March 2009. The project initially covered England and Wales and has been extended to Scotland in partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland. We are also seeking to pilot the project in Northern Ireland.
29 bureaux participated in the project, involving 37 PFS volunteers. Delivery of advice began in May 2007 and ran until March 2009. Some bureaux have continued to run MoneyPlan after the initial pilot has finished.
MoneyPlan is supported by a central Citizens Advice team, and overseen by a steering group that includes representatives from the financial services industry, the Financial Services Authority and Department for Work and Pensions. An evaluation of the project has been funded by the Resolution Foundation, with a copy of the summary document available
MoneyPlan June 2009 ( 0.51mb)
How the service helped Sadie
Sadie (name has been changed to protect anonymity), a client in her mid 50s contacted Citizens Advice via the website enquiring about the Moneyplan project. The client is on a middle income and wanted some advice on planning for her retirement. She had done some research around finding an IFA but felt she did not have enough income and investments to approach an IFA.
Sadie was made an appointment with Royal Courts of Justice CAB where she met with the IFA and was given “the vital pointers I needed within the hour allowed”. After her appointment, the client told Citizens Advice how pleased she had been with the service and also added:
"Needless to say I would never have had the wherewithal – financial or chutzpah – to approach someone like that if it had not been provided under this scheme. Likewise for other people in my position, a money advice service could end up saving the state a considerable amount of benefit."