By Lee Healey

Launched in April 2011, The Money Advice Service aims to provide free, unbiased advice to help people make the most of their money.

The Money Advice Service was set up by government and is paid for by a £43.7 million (2011/2012) statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Services Authority. Its 2011/2012 business plan budget has over £13 million of staff costs so it is an incredibly large organisation for one so new.

The Money Advice Service is actually the final version of an extensive government re-branding exercise.

The Money Advice Service was originally launched in 2009 as Moneymadeclear, a Financial Services Authority (FSA) service. The Moneymadeclear service at this point was not independent of government.

The FSA was then asked to create a new, independent agency called the Consumer Financial Education Body, or CFEB as it was to be known, to help move the Moneymadeclear initiative forward.

CFEB came into existence on April 26, 2010 and had a mandate from Parliament to develop consumer financial education in the UK and to enhance the public’s understanding and knowledge of financial matters and their ability to mange their own financial affairs. Tony Hobman was named CEO of the new organisation on May 17 2010.

CFEB took on the role of delivering the Moneymadeclear service and in June 2010, the government asked CFEB to develop the new annual family financial health check, which is to launch in spring 2011.

Fast forward to April 2011 and both CFEB and the Moneymadeclear brand have been replaced by The Money Advice Service, a private company limited by guarantee, whose vision is to “enhance people’s lives because they take control of their money as a matter of course."

The Money Advice Service statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding and knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system) and to enhance the ability of members of the public to manage their own financial affairs.

The Money Advice Service has an independent Chairman and board appointed by the Financial Services Authority.

The Money Advice Service is free to the millions of people who need practical money advice, whatever their financial circumstances and aims to revolutionise the way people in the UK think about and manage their money, as research shows that if people feel in control of their finances they feel better off, have a greater sense of wellbeing, and are happier.

The Money Advice Service will help people take the right financial decisions and act on them, by giving personalised advice online at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk,  over the phone on 0300 500 5000, and face-to-face across the UK through a national network.

To book a local face-to-face advice session, customers can call:

England 0333 321 3434

Scotland 0808 800 0118

Northern Ireland 0333 321 2424

Wales 0300 330 0520

Gerard Lemos, Chairman of the Money Advice Service, said at the time of its launch:

“The Money Advice Service is here to make people’s lives easier and better. I firmly believe we can all enjoy life more given the right money advice at the right time in the right way. We’re not here to sell people anything and we won’t charge anyone – we are here to help people take decisions about their money and plan for a better future for themselves and their families.”

From a benefits and tax credits perspective The Money Advice service will only be providing basic benefits and tax credits information to customers and not in-depth expertise. Instead, The Money Advice Service will signpost and refer customers to established networks such as CAB, Advice UK and Law Centres.

For more information about the Money Advice Service please contact:

Nancy Baynes 020 7943 0593

Louise Alissi 020 7943 0429

Kate Humphris 020 7943 0475

pressoffice@moneyadviceservice.org.uk