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Personal Finance Society
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Personal Finance Society set to expand MoneyPlan initiative

The Personal Finance Society is set to expand the MoneyPlan initiative run in partnership with Citizens Advice, with a growing number of financial advisers keen to take part in the programme.

Initially rolled out to 50 local Citizens Advice charities last year, the service is now offered at more than 100 services in the network across England and Wales, where professionally qualified advisers volunteer their expertise by providing generic financial advice for free.

The service is now set to expand, with close to 170 advisers having registered an interest in participating in the programme and being partnered with a growing network of Citizens Advice charities.

The Personal Finance Society is also investigating the potential to expand a similar pro bono advice initiative into Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Personal Finance Society chief executive Keith Richards said MoneyPlan had been introduced at the right time for UK consumers, who are often "confused and baffled" by the complexities of financial planning.

"The government and regulator, through the Financial Advice Market Review, are currently considering ways to increase access to financial advice in recognition that people need guidance more than ever before," he said.

"Our members have shown they are keen to give something back to the community, and a growing number of volunteers are improving access for consumers across the country."

Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy, said:

"Getting the right guidance can pave the way to financial security."

"With the MoneyPlan service set to expand, more people will be able make the most of the link between the money advice we offer and the generic financial advice of qualified MoneyPlan volunteers."

Mr Richards said MoneyPlan formed an important part of the financial advice profession's pro bono initiative, and urged more financial advisers to participate.

 "Pro bono work is a key feature of most professions and an important part of our ongoing campaign to build trust among consumers and consumer organisations," he said.

"I would also like to thank specialist insurer Partnership, which continues to provide important financial support to Citizens Advice's operational management of the MoneyPlan initiative."


Note (1)

This initiative brings to fruition the recommendation of the original MoneyPlan pilot that took place between May 2007 and March 2009, where "reduced stress and improved peace of mind" was the result for 89% of participants.

During the pilot, 30 adviser members volunteered their time on a regular basis to their local Citizens Advice, to provide money guidance to clients on low and middle incomes.

Many continue to provide this valuable pro bono support to their local Citizens Advice. During the pilot, more than 1,100 people received help with around 2,400 financial issues.

By rolling out MoneyPlan, Personal Finance Society members have the opportunity to share their expertise with a sector of society that arguably stands to benefit most, giving them the information, knowledge and confidence to take greater control of their own financial affairs.