Naming of financial guidance body delayed due to fraud fears

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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 proposed legislation aims to improve access to help with money matters and tighten the rules around claims management firms.

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 co-ordinate the provision of debt advice as well as money and pension guidance.

It would be funded by existing levies on pension schemes and the financial services industry.

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.

"Call us cynical, but we are now of the view that we have to be particularly cautious on that."

She added: "I am not also convinced that politicians in Parliament are best placed to actually decide what the name could be.

"I think it's best left to people who will be brought on board to run the single body to make those decisions."