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13 January 2009

HM Treasury and FSA announce partners for £12 million Money Guidance pathfinder

The first group of partners, who will help to deliver the new £12 million Money Guidance pathfinder, were announced today by HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The Money Guidance pathfinder, based in the North West and the North East of England, will provide impartial financial guidance from this spring to up to 750,000 people in these regions. The guidance will be delivered by telephone, face to face, and on the internet.

The face-to-face partners, selected through competitive tender, are:

The telephone partner will be Teleperformance, a leading provider of outsourced contact centre solutions who currently work with the FSA on its consumer contact centre.

In addition to its existing service, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, an experienced debt management organisation, has offered to provide telephone-based Money Guidance to its own clients.

The face-to-face partners have a strong  presence across the North East and North West of England and will be able to deliver Money Guidance via a variety of different methods including by appointment, drop-in sessions and outreach.  Many of the partners have specialist expertise in areas such as tax, benefits, debt, employment, advocacy and housing.

Ian Pearson, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“I’m delighted to announce today a major step towards delivery of the Money Guidance pathfinder, which we are on track to launch this spring.  Impartial, trusted guidance on money matters - which is geared to addressing peoples needs and questions, not selling financial products - is needed more than ever. These partners bring a wealth of experience and expertise in delivering advice and support, particularly to those most vulnerable to the consequences of poor financial decision making, and will play an important part in making the pathfinder service a success.”

Chris Pond, FSA director of financial capability, said:

“This is another step towards the provision of impartial guidance on money matters that so many people desperately need in today's difficult circumstances.  We are delighted to announce the partners who will work with us and the Government to deliver this service to help consumers. Money Guidance will give more consumers the capability to make sound money choices, to know what questions to ask of their financial service provider, and, just as importantly, to have the confidence to do so and to know where to go if things go wrong.”

“We continue to be in discussion with many other commercial, third sector and non-profit organisations to identify partners to fill niches and identified segments, and we hope to announce these in the spring.”

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Notes for editors

1. The Thoresen Review was launched in January 2007 by the then Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Ed Balls MP. Its remit was to research and design a national approach to generic financial advice. The Review's final report was published on 3 March 2008. 

2. The Government accepted the central recommendation of the Thoresen Review for a large-scale pliot or pathfinder and on 3 March 2008 announced the £12m pathfinder project, jointly funded and led by the FSA and HM Treasury. 

3. The Government and FSA announced in “Helping you make the most of your money: a joint action plan for financial capability”, published in July 2008, that the pathfinder would take place in the North East and North West of England and set out detailed plans for delivery.

4. The Thoresen Review was launched alongside Financial Capability: the Government's long-term approach in January 2007. This sets out three long-term aspirations:

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