A Citizens Advice Bureau scheme has helped more than 1,100 people gain access to free independent financial advice.
MoneyPlan, which was introduced as a pilot project in May 2007, has seen experienced financial advisers tackle a wide variety of issues, most of which have come from asset-rich, but cash-poor homeowners aged over 50.
Gap in the market
Teresa Perchard, director of policy at Citizens Advice, said: ‘The findings of MoneyPlan show a worrying gap in the availability of financial advice for people who can’t afford to pay for it or know where to start to find it. It does not follow that because someone has a low monthly income that their financial situation is simple. Many of the clients seen by this project have complicated enquiries about their mortgages, pensions or questions about equity release.’
Independent financial advice
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has worked with 36 independent financial advisers (IFAs) on the scheme, who offered their services on a pro bono basis. They found that many consumers cannot afford to get quality independent advice on their mortgages, pensions or investments.
CAB found that two-thirds of those who used the service acted in response to their adviser’s opinion, while more than four-fifths said that their appointment left them feeling less stressed and with greater peace of mind. For almost four-fifths, MoneyPlan was their first contact with an IFA.
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