Does MaPS’ brand consolidation make sense? 

When the Money and Pensions Service (or MaPS) first launched in 2019, chaired by former Financial Services Authority CEO, Sir Hector Sants, it assumed ownership of three existing consumer-facing brands; the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.  

At the time, I was expecting these three would be renamed MaPS, given that the organisation was created by legislation to bring together a range of financial guidance services under one roof.

My thoughts then turned to the multitude of client-facing items of literature and forms that would need to be amended, redesigned and reprinted in order to reflect the rebrand. This is a time-consuming and costly exercise that every provider faces, which never appears to receive recognition from those at the helm of dreaming up these new names.

However, I was proved wrong. The three existing brand names were to remain in place for the time being. Cue audible sighs of relief all round from providers! 

MoneyHelper – new consumer brand

In the meantime, however, work was underway within MaPS to, in their words, “. . . fulfil our obligations and achieve our goal by consolidating the multiple brands to create a single service . . . [and] . . . provide a better and enhanced consumer experience . . . where information can easily be found in one place.” 

Then, at an online presentation in March 2021, MaPS finally revealed the name of their new consumer-facing brand...“MoneyHelper.”

My initial thought was that this name sounded like one of those pay-day lenders, where calls might be answered by someone with a Ray Winstone-esque voice, growling “How much do you want, and when do you need it by?” 

Apparently, though, according to MaPS, “. . . following consumer research, financial analysis and careful consideration of the available options, MoneyHelper was selected as the strongest performing brand name to take us forward.”

Launch of MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is due to launch at the end of June 2021 and will deliver the services previously delivered via MaPS. 

This means that the legacy brands of the Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service will cease to exist, whilst Pension Wise will continue to operate as “a service provided by MoneyHelper.”

The content that is currently on their legacy brand websites is all moving across to the new MoneyHelper website, with redirections in place, so that anyone who tries to access one of the legacy websites will automatically be redirected to the like-for-like page of the MoneyHelper website.

This means that providers like ourselves are finally facing the time and cost implications of amending our customer-facing literature to remove all references to the legacy brands, and insert MoneyHelper in their place.

Are MaPS helping providers with updates?

Again, according to their latest update, “We have published a toolkit containing all the MoneyHelper information and guidance you will need. You can use this toolkit to start thinking about how our new consumer brand will impact your organisation and the changes this will require. We will be working closely with our stakeholders and partners to support them through the transition.”

However, I wonder if this “support” will extend to covering the cost of making all our literature amendments.

Speaking of cost, I was also wondering how much money was spent by MaPS on the MoneyHelper rebranding, bearing in mind that the costs towards operating MaPS is ultimately paid via a General Levy on occupational pension scheme trustees, sponsoring employers of pension schemes, and personal pension providers.

Well, thanks to a Freedom of Information request to MaPS by Money Marketing, we now have the answer. MaPS spent £201,526 on the entire rebranding of its flagship MoneyHelper website.

A number of external agencies were contracted by MaPS to work on the rebranding process, with certain aspects carried out by MaPS internal services.

Call me a cynic, but if the name “MaPS” had simply been amended to “Money & Pensions Help” that would more clearly explain to me what the objectives of the organisation are. And I bet this would have cost far less than £200,000 to achieve.

Is it worth it?

Only time will tell whether the new name successfully justifies the cost of creating it and putting it into action. It does remind me of “Workie,” the large multi-coloured creature that was used in adverts circa 2015 and 2016 to promote auto-enrolment, and which reportedly cost a six-figure sum to produce. It was quietly dropped by the Government shortly afterwards, which meant the creature’s name then became “Out of Workie.”

There’s one consolation of the rebrand though. At least the new name of this guidance-only body doesn’t include the word “advice.”

If you're an adviser and would like to talk about this topic, please get in touch with your usual Barnett Waddingham contact to find out how we can support you. Alternatively, please contact me below.

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