The best known student of Ammonius Saccas was Plotinus, who lived from around 205 to 270 AD. Plotinus established the Neoplatonic school of philosophy central to which is the monistic idea that all of reality can be derived from a single principle or thing.
A late 20th century exponent of monism is Chesney Hawkes whose song The One and Only is clearly influenced by Neoplatonic ideas notwithstanding that the term is a modern historiographical label applied to the thinkers themselves by subsequent commentators.
The Stereophonics, as the name suggests, prefer a dualistic concept of the universe which sits uncomfortably with the establishment of the Single Financial Guidance Body to bring together the services currently provided by The Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.
Sir Hector Sants, who chairs the new body, is undaunted focusing on the new body’s clear mission “to help everyone manage their personal finances as well as their circumstances allow across the nation.” This is to be delivered across five core functions comprising:
- Pensions guidance – providing information to the public on matters relating to workplace and personal pensions.
- Money guidance – providing information designed to enhance people’s understanding and knowledge of financial matters and day-to-day money management skills.
- Debt advice – providing people in England with information and advice on debt.
- Consumer protection – enabling the SFGB to work with Government and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in protecting consumers.
- Strategy – working with the financial services industry, devolved authorities and the public and voluntary sectors to develop a national strategy to improve peoples’ financial capability, help them manage debt and provide financial education for children and young people.
Staff from the three earlier bodies have transferred across and services are being provided from January 2019 onwards. Outreach to the industry, employers and stakeholders will follow as will a new integrated service offering and an enhanced partnership programme.
There is an exciting array of financial guidance, debt advisory, legal, accounting and pension knowledge and experience amongst the leadership team whose challenges include alighting upon a new name for the body later in the year.
The Stereophonics’ dualistic tendencies might have erred in the direction of amalgamating the two pension related bodies into one so debt advice and pension guidance could be delivered in stereo. Regardless, we wholeheartedly welcome the establishment of the new body even if Plotinus might suggest it is some one thousand eight hundred years overdue.