Queen's speech promises to replace three financial advice services with one body

A visitor feeling the heat waiting in the Strangers Gallery ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London
A visitor feeling the heat waiting in the Strangers Gallery ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London

Improved access to help with money matters and a clampdown on claims management firms has been promised to consumers in the Queen's Speech

The Financial Guidance and Claims Bill will replace three existing financial guidance providers with a single body, aiming to give people a more "joined up" service when making financial decisions.

Peers find their places ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London

Peers find their places ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London

Currently, the Money Advice Service (MAS), the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise provide some services which overlap, the Government has said.

It said a single body would reduce duplication and provide better value for money. It will co-ordinate the provision of debt advice, money guidance and pension guidance and will be held accountable to Parliament. The body will be funded by existing levies on pension schemes and the financial services industry.

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 will 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. Consumers will be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if they have a problem.

The moves should also help ensure that senior managers are personally held accountable for the actions of their businesses.

The Government also plans to clamp down on logbook loans - where someone's car is put up as security for money borrowed.

The Goods Mortgage Bill, applying to England and Wales, promises to modernise "Victorian-era legislation".

Borrowers will be better informed about their loan and the Bill would provide safeguards if borrowers get into financial difficulty.

The new protections would require lenders to obtain a court order before seizing goods where a borrower wanting to challenge the repossession has already made significant repayments, meaning at least one third of the loan has been paid back.

Borrowers in financial difficulty will also be given the right to voluntarily terminate their deal and hand over their vehicle or other goods to the lender.

Concerns have also been raised by charities that some people may unwittingly end up buying a car with a logbook loan attached to it, taken out by a previous owner. This could put their car at risk of repossession.

The new plans will help protect against this, by making it clearer that borrowers who knowingly sell goods with a logbook loan attached could be committing fraud.

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