The Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) has asked for the Money Advice Service (MAS) to evaluate its effectiveness in changing consumer behaviour and to publish its findings within one year.
Responding to the MAS's 2014-2015 business plan, APFA said the service needed to be able to demonstrate its switch to a predominantly online service, which it said allowed it to reach more consumers, was having an impact.
In its business plan, the MAS proposed to keep its marketing budget at £12.68m to be spent on "a range of activity, from campaigns to digital marketing, aimed at encouraging people to take action".
The MAS reported an upswing in Q3 last year in the number of people it reaches via its online tools: 1,100 consumers per week.
But APFA said it was concerned about the numbers-based approach which did not measure how many people got the help they needed.
APFA said: "We recognise that MAS intends to develop and implement a new evaluation strategy to measure the effectiveness of its content and tools, and we welcome this initiative.
"However, this is an issue that we remain concerned about, as the effectiveness of this approach remains unproven three-and-a-half years after MAS commenced, and it will be some time before there is any data available to support the case, or otherwise, for this approach.
"It is therefore imperative that MAS starts to deliver on its promise to evaluate the service to understand what does and does not work, and publishes its findings within the next year."
APFA's comments come after Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chairman John Griffith-Jones, who keeps oversight of the MAS, admitted during a progress hearing chaired by the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) earlier this month that the service was still not able to measure its effectiveness.
"I can't tell whether someone coming out of the website gets what they want or changes their behaviour as a result of it, but I have to believe that, from a cost benefit perspective, that a computerised system that is widely accessible and has a good reputation is actually a major step forward," Griffith-Jones told the TSC.
APFA endorsed the MAS's plans to increase third party referrals including to advisers, as outlined in the business plan, and said it would work with the MAS as long as the process was simple and did not include any further requirements on advisers to be included on referral lists.
Nevertheless, APFA still voiced concerns over the MAS's response to findings of previous reports, including the TSC's and National Audit Office's (NAO), and said the service should issue a more detailed response "addressing each of the recommendations".
In a separate response to the Financial Ombudsman Service's (FOS) budget, APFA demanded claims management firms should be levied with a fee each time they refer a complaint.
APFA director general Chris Hannant (pictured) said: "CMCs make substantial amounts of money from what should be a free service to consumers. Therefore, we think they should be obliged to make some contribution to the cost of that service, rather than it being borne in full by the financial services industry.
"Introducing a fee should also encourage a more careful validation process before claims are submitted, rather than the scattergun approach we're hearing about now."
Responding to the FOS, MAS and Financial Services Compensation Scheme's (FSCS) budget all at once, Hannant added: "We need to see these services represent better value for money. A common call running through all our budget responses is that we want FOS, MAS and FSCS - and the FCA for that matter - to commit to sharing more services. It seems a sensible step in order to reduce costs for advisers."
Hannant previously backed the FSCS' new funding approach, saying it would be better for advisers in the long term.
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