Government plans financial advice ads

The Government is planning a heavyweight advertising campaign, with a budget of up to £30m, to support its free, basic financial advice scheme to every adult in the UK.

The proposed Generic Financial Advice (GFA) service is being piloted in four areas across the UK and could be rolled out across the entire country as early as next year. Last week a report ruled that the campaign was a cost-effective way of improving people’s money management.

The scheme, which is a joint initiative by the Government and the financial services industry, aims to explain jargon and help people manage their budgets.

Last week’s report from Otto Thoresen, chief executive of Aegon UK, who is designing the scheme for the Treasury, mooted a variety of public information marketing campaigns with projected costs ranging from £5m to £30m. Thoresen says the “logical conclusion” is that the final spend will be towards the higher end of that scale.

David McCann, planning director of financial services specialist Teamspirit, has urged the Government to leave the marketing of the scheme to the financial services industry. He slams a COI campaign for the launch of stakeholder pensions in 2001 and says/ “We’d rather the Government restricted its interest to the issues of who will offer the advice and how the quality of that advice will be monitored and let the industry decide what and how it believes will be the best way to promote a service that it will almost certainly have to pay for and deliver.”