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Free help with money matters for all

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Every adult in the UK is to be offered free advice about personal finance products in a national scheme being set up by the Government.

The initiative is projected to be up and running by 2012 to coincide with the new Personal Accounts pension scheme, into which up to 10 million people will be enrolled to head off an imminent pensions crisis.

Such is the concern that many people in the UK lack even the most basic knowledge about personal finance products, like saving and investment, and mortgages that top hitter Otto Thoerson, chief executive of Aegon UK, has been appointed to design the scheme by the end of the year.

The service will cost around £50m a year to run and this will be shared by Government and the personal finance industry. It will comprise a national helpline, website and a network of new and existing advice centres. Special efforts will be made to encourage low-income groups to use it.

“Financial decisions are difficult. Financial products are complicated and there is too much jargon,” said Ed Balls, Treasury minister. “This puts people off, or they can end up buying something, like a saving and investment product for example, that is not right for them.”



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