A pilot project that will assess the feasibility of providing
generic financial advice (GFA) across three channels – the
telephone, the internet and face-to-face – has been launched in the
UK. The move forms part of a government initiative announced in
January to research and design a national approach to GFA. Otto
Thoresen, chief executive of life insurer AEGON UK, was appointed
to head the initiative as an independent reviewer.
The pilot project aims to reach at least 5,000 consumers before
ending on 17 December 2007 and is being undertaken by
government-sponsored consumer advice body Consumer Direct, charity
body Citizens Advice Bureau, Cumbria County Council, business
process service provider Agilisys, and A4e, a private company
consulting to the public service.
The three advice channels provide consumers with guidance on a
range of financial topics, including budgeting, insurance,
pensions, savings and bank accounts, as well as life events such as
buying a first home. The pilots will also test marketing
techniques, including local radio, leaflet drops, general
practitioners’ surgeries and other advice agencies.
“These pilots represent an important step within the review
process,” said Thoresen. “Working directly with consumers will give
us valuable practical insight into how a generic financial
information and guidance system may be developed.” The results from
the evaluation of the pilots will be published in Thoresen’s final
review report in early 2008.