HM Treasury

Newsroom & speeches

10 September 2007

Thoresen Review announces consumer pilots of generic financial advice

The Thoresen Review, an independent review set up by HM Treasury to look at how Generic Financial Advice (GFA) can be provided, today announced that Consumer Direct, in partnership with Citizens Advice Bureau, Cumbria County Council and Agilisys, and A4e will operate GFA consumer pilots in the North West, London, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire.

The pilots will test out a range of options and evidence the review has gathered from a wide variety of sources; including the responses to the review's call for evidence and consumer focus groups, to see how GFA can best be provided.

The pilots will:

The Reviewer, Otto Thoresen said:

"These pilots represent an important step within the review process. Working directly with consumers will give us valuable practical insight into how a generic financial information and guidance system may be developed."

Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Kitty Ussher said:

"The Government wants everybody to be able to get good financial advice easily and simply. Generic financial advice has the potential to help people across the UK to manage their money and to ask the right questions of financial suppliers. These pilots are vital to help determine what will work well for consumers and the results will be of interest to government, industry and consumer groups alike. I look forward to the outcome of the pilots with great interest, and the final Thoresen Review report which they will help to inform."

Notes to editors

1. The Thoresen Review was announced in January 2007 by the then Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Ed Balls MP, as part of the Government's long-term approach to financial capability. Its remit is to research and design a national approach to Generic Financial Advice.
2. The review's terms of reference and the Call for Evidence were issued on 13 March 2007 and closed on 27 April 2007. These are available from the Thoresen Review website.
3. The review will issue an interim report in Autumn 2007 and its final report in early 2008.
4. ´Financial Capability: the Government´s long-term approach´ can be found on this website.
5. Testing the feasibility of delivering financial information, guidance and tools across three delivery channels, the pilots will provide an indicative evidence base on a variety of issues including the most effective channel mix and the impact of the service on financial services, third sector advice agencies and consumers.
6. The 14-week long pilots will test out the assumptions and evidence the review has gathered from a wide variety of sources; including the responses to the review's call for evidence, workshops held in Edinburgh and London, cost-benefit analysis, consumer focus groups and academic research/international experience.
7. The three advice channels will provide consumers with guidance and advice on a range of financial topics, including budgeting, insurance, pensions, savings and bank accounts as well as life-based events such as buying a first home. The web pilot will be based on the FSA's 'moneymadeclear' website, which has a range of GFA tools such as calculators and comparison tables. The pilots will test out a variety of marketing techniques, including local radio, leaflet drops and promotion by intermediaries such as GP surgeries and other advice agencies, to invite the target market to ring the GFA pilot telephone number or access the website.
8. Media enquiries should be addressed to Richard King, Treasury Press Office, 020 7270 4420.
9. Non-media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Correspondence and Enquiry Unit on 020 7270 4558, or by e-mail to public.enquiries@hm-treasury.gov.uk
10. This press release and other Treasury publications and information are available on the Treasury website. If you would like Treasury press releases to be sent to you automatically by e-mail you can subscribe to this service from the press release site on the website.

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