The naming of a new financial guidance body has been delayed by the Government because of the threat posed by online fraudsters. Ministers said there was “every good reason to suspect” that setting out the title of the organisation in legislation would lead to problems with scammers “mimicking” it on “spurious” websites. As a result, the Government was being “particularly cautious” over giving a name to the body that would be created by the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill.
The Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB), as it is currently called in the bill, would replace three existing financial guidance providers to reduce duplication and provide better value for money. Accountable to Parliament, it would coordinate the provision of debt advice (Money Advice Service) as well as money and pension guidance.
Speaking during the committee stage of the bill in the Lords, Pensions Minister Baroness Buscombe said: “The reason why we do not want to put the name of the body on the face of the bill is, unfortunately, we have every good reason to suspect that it could lead to other individuals holding themselves out and mimicking the body, which could lead to all sorts of problems if it was set up online as a spurious website.
The bill also promises that to protect consumers from “widespread malpractice” across the claims management companies sector, such as nuisance calls and the encouragement of fraudulent claims, regulatory responsibility will be transferred to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA would be handed new powers to cap the fees that claims management companies can charge to consumers, as well as ensuring a more robust process for firms that want to enter the market.