The FSA has today launched its Moneymadeclear money guidance service for consumers in the North of England.
Moneymadeclear aims to help people deal with money problems and make informed financial decisions to prepare for the future.
However, Aegon UK's chief executive, Otto Thoresen, believes Moneymadeclear is just the first step towards improving financial capability in the UK.
Members of the public in the North of England can now access money guidance through the FSA's Moneymadeclear website, via a telephone helpline on 0300 500 5000 or face-to-face with partner organisations.
The £12m project hopes to reach 750,000 people in the North in its first twelve months, and may form the basis of a national service.
Ian Pearson, economic secretary to the Treasury, says: "I am delighted to launch the Moneymadeclear service pathfinder. People who are facing money concerns or questions need to know that good, practical help is at hand.
"With this new service, people in the North West and North East can speak to impartial, trained Moneymadeclear staff who can help them deal with the money worries they face as well as plan for the future with confidence."
Thoresen, author of the Thoresen Review of financial capability, says today's launch is a welcome move, but wants more to be done to ensure everyone is able to access independent financial advice.
"We need to put together the pieces of the jigsaw to create a society where people are confident in dealing with money matters and can then make the right plans for themselves and their families," he says.
"To complete the picture it's vital that the FSA's Retail Distribution Review, which is currently focused almost exclusively on the needs of the 'haves', also addresses the needs of the 'could haves' and improves access for all the people who could benefit from professional, regulated financial advice."
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