Martin Lewis aiming to join MAS review ‘challenger panel’

MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis has offered to sit on a panel overseeing MAS’ response to the Farnish report after being invited by MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes.

The report, published last week, called for MAS to halve its budget for money advice, as well as undergoing a substantial restructure.

Pledging to review the findings, MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes told Money Marketing the service would establish a “challenger panel” to oversee its response, making sure the progress was “open and transparent”.

Speaking to Money Marketing, Lewis says: “It would be churlish to say no having been so critical, and I will aim to do so time permitting”.

“It’s very important that I’m not one of those that wants to see MAS shut down. What I want to see is MAS doing its job and making a difference.”

Challenged as to whether his own site, which is owned my Money Supermarket, could gain from MAS’ overhaul, Lewis says: “We get more traffic in one day than they get in a month. My biggest worry is about getting the right thing done.

“We are the big beasts on this. I accept that. But I don’t give a monkey’s about competition. I give a monkey’s about helping people.”

Lewis’ comments come as MAS confirms it has agreed with the FCA to lower its spending on marketing to channel more funds into its debt advice provision.

MAS will publish its own business plan early next week, including details of its spending plans.



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Well, the cricket season is here, and England and Australia are stepping up to the wicket. Although we compete with each other in the sporting world, when it comes to pensions, Australia’s pension programme is held up as a model for our auto-enrolment initiative. Auto-enrolment was introduced because people weren’t saving enough into their pensions, and it is still early days but signs are positive. However, in Australia, saving into a pension is compulsory, and in fact employers are the ones who have to pay in. Employees in Australia can make additional contributions into their pensions, but they don’t have to. Should the onus be on the employer or employee to save? Well in the UK we think it’s both, but to get ‘adequate’ savings for retirement it’s the employee who has to pay more in.

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There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. He looks very dashing in the photo. Looks much younger.

  2. After describing the MAS as “crap” and “its product is abominable and I’d be embarrassed to put most of its tools on my website” (quite right too) I imagine Lewis will have to wait some time for his invitation.

    It’ll be the usual jobs for the boys. Those who can’t do, teach, those who can’t teach, join quangos, those who are such a waste of skin they can’t even get on a quango, join a quango overseeing another quango.

    I could have sworn that the government promised a concerted effort to reduce the number of quangos, involving some sort of incendiary communal heating device. Must be imagining things.

  3. Another feather in the cap for a rampant self publicist? Surely there are other real experts who could serve on the panel.

  4. Here’s a novel idea, why not ask somebody who is authorised and regulated by the FCA, rather than asking a journalist who accordingly to the FCA register doesn’t hold authorisation for pensions and investments advice.

    Remind me again what the FCA statutory objective is oh yes to protect the consumer. How is that protecting the consumer when we constantly undermine the authorisation rules within the profession.

    I’ve even seen an advert on ITV4 recently for a company advertising pension freedom who doesn’t hold authorisation according to the FCA register.

    When is the FCA going to get serious about authorisation because to me it seems like they’re doing nothing yet again.

  5. Why is anybody giving this fellow any oxygen.

    If he wants to comment on our world he should take the exams and get authorised.

    God forbid if he and Paul Lewis ever join forces.

  6. Surely, it should be those paying for the Service and only those that pay for the service (i.e. IFAs) that get to sit on the panel.

    Journalists and Public Servants… Waste of space

  7. Peter, yes well said.

  8. Peter, well said

  9. Didn’t he offer to help them out before ?

    Seems like Ms Crookes offers him the same distain as she does us !

  10. Icelandic Banks? Sorry!.

    I am sure he could and would sort MAS out, but then they will not listen so he can state he tried.

  11. The only thing I wish this arrogant, pompous, self publicist would volunteer for is a one way trip to Mars. That way we might not have to see or here from him again.

  12. It’s an interesting one as I understand Mr Lewis also believe people shouldn’t take out critical illness or income protection cover…. with the lack of any current market/ advice experience and a disbelief in the products of the market how can he possibly be suitable for such a role?
    MAS continuing its downward spiral….

  13. I’m sure it was mere coincidence that when I commented on his FACEBOOK post asking a question just out of interest around life insurance and 5 options requesting an answer of A,B,C, D or E that I got a cold call on my mobile within 1 hour telling me that due to a change in my circumstances that I should review my life cover.

  14. This guy really annoys me, he is the epitome of someone deciding to give advice with no qualifications and no come back for those that take his advice and suffer. “Icelandic banks have great interest rates” is only one example.

    Surely those that pay for MAS should be invited to offer their opinion on how they spend the money.

  15. With all the talk of scammers and unauthorised sources of information you would have thought that the BBC would be looking for authorised advisers to give advice on the new pension rules.

    So can somebody explain to me how the BBC have yet again asked Martin Lewis to explain on BBC Radio 5 these new pension rules when he doesn’t hold a qualification in pension and investments and furthermore he doesn’t hold authorisation.

    Now he maybe a Journalist, but that does not make him an expert in pensions and investments as he a doesn’t have any qualifications, so why are the BBC touting him as an EXPERT! After all an expert is meant to have qualifications and God forbid an SPS certificate and current FCA registration for pensions and investments.

    Furthermore I’d like to know where the FCA is on this subject as surely they should be on the BBC’s back when it comes to providing accurate information to the general public.

    Before Paul Lewis of money box pipes up and says IFA’s do not own the advice title and he and Martin Lewis have the right under journalistic principle. I for one am getting a little bit fed up of that excuse after all if we talking about protecting consumers which is of course the FCA statutory objective surely enforcing authorisation rules and making sure that customers get information from authorised sources is a minimum standard of any regulator and should be at least a quality control issue for the BBC.

    Is it about time that the adviser industry took the FCA to court in the non-enforcement of authorisation rules? Shouldn’t AIFA be doing this?

  16. Referance BBC Radio 5 on 30/03/2015 and podcast!

    As for the comment about fees in the piece with a representative from Hargreaves Lansdown and Martin Lewis well all I can say is it must be April Fools’ Day.

    Apparently you can get financial advice for a few hundred pounds on a complicated pension drawdown case involving who knows what? Not forgetting that that financial adviser is having to pay FSCS for every unregulated source of information out there and is liable for his or her advice forever, unlike Martin Lewis and indeed the execution only service of Hargreaves Lansdowne.

    Isn’t there meant to be strict marketing rules in connection with the use of social media which must include radio, after all didn’t I read an article on here that stated that authorised regulated advisers should be wary about using Twitter because they couldn’t get their risk warnings in the required number of characters. Here we have an execution only service providing detailed advice and an unauthorised person giving information does not break some type of regulation and shouldn’t MPs and regulators be asking some quite serious questions. These individuals may indeed be doing the industry a favour by at least pointing out that people should seek out an IFA but we need to get back to basics and enforce regulations and authorisation rules. Maybe money marketing can ask the FCA a direct question on this.

    Now I must congratulate them on actually mentioning that people should get independent financial advice but my god do they need to get realistic about the fees that us guys have to pay which doesn’t include our running costs and taking into consideration our ever increasing liabilities e.g. the advice we have given. Not all of us can hide behind journalistic principle when giving advice!

    Rant over for the day, I’m sorry the if this may offend Martin or the representative from Hargreaves Lansdowne but we need to have enforcement of authorisation rules otherwise we will have a serious pension mis-selling scandal that will dwarf the 1980s pension mis-selling scandal.

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