FSA to spearhead debt advice pilot

The Financial Services Authority will launch a free debt advice pilot scheme based on the recommendations of the Thoresen Review of Generic Financial Advice.

The review calls on the government to provide a free public financial advice strategy to Britons.

Otto Thoresen, chief executive of Aegon UK, was appointed by the Treasury to undertake the review to assess the feasibility of a national approach to generic financial advice.

In his final report published today, Thoresen proposes that the advice scheme be supported by the financial services community via a levy paid by all FSA-regulated firms, the Office of Fair Trading and National Savings and Investment.

The FSA will spearhead the pilot, which will be focussed on budgeting, saving and borrowing, tax and welfare benefits, protection and retirement planning.

The scheme will offer advice, with the focus on crisis prevention and supportiveness for consumers rather than the sales aspect of the financial advice process.

Hector Sants, chief executive of the FSA, says:”Otto Thoresen is to be congratulated for producing such a thorough report and setting out a clear road map for taking this work forward.

“We recognise that many consumers are not equipped to make informed decisions about their finances and can fall victim to the consequences of those poor choices. We are delighted to be leading the next phase of work. “