Financial services watchdog hunts agency for consumer role

The Financial Services Authority is planning to appoint a communications planning agency to be the driving force behind its marketing strategy, as the body seeks to make itself a place consumers can get money-related advice.

It is understood the FSA is looking for an agency to handle the broadening of its marketing remit, after it received cash from the Treasury so that it can play a role in helping people manage their money better.

The FSA and the Treasury unveiled a package of measures to inform and educate people over their finances earlier this month. The Financial Capability Action Plan includes expanding the FSA’s consumer website Moneymadeclear, which will be backed by a significant marketing campaign after the summer. The Treasury is understood to be in talks with the City regulator, which is financed through levies on the industry, over the sum of money to be given and ringfenced for the project.

However, it is not clear if the brief would also include a communications strategy for the FSA’s corporate function as the authority battles to salve its reputation in the wake of the Northern Rock fiasco, which led to the Newcastle bank being nationalised.

It is also unclear whether the FSA will be searching for advertising and media buying agencies. The communications planning review is being overseen by the COI.

Other initiatives in the action plan include a £12m pilot of a Money Guidance scheme to be run next year across the North-west and North-east of England.

The expanded FSA consumer service, which will be “widely” promoted after the summer, will also direct people worried by rising energy bills to independent advice sources.

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