Bankers sceptical about financial capability service

24 April 2007
Leading figures in the British banking industry have raised their voices against the government's plans to introduce a free, comprehensive advice service for improving financial capability.

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) claims that most people turn to family or friends for financial advice or consult online web advice, suggesting that these sources of support are sufficient to sustain sensible financial habits.

According to its survey, the web was consumers' second most popular port of call, followed by banks and post offices.

Meanwhile, fewer people consulted independent financial advisers than relied on money-related magazines and pull-out sections in the weekend press, it found.

The Treasury proposed a nation-wide, independent government-funded financial advice service in the autumn.

But "before the government spends time and money trying to develop new systems aimed at helping people with their money", it should reinforce existing advice streams, the BBA report insists.

Chief executive Angela Knight called for an emphasis on "enhancing and tailoring existing services", highlighting in particular the "demand for good online advice".

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