Martin Lewis: MSE should not be regulated like IFAs

Lewis-Martin-2012-700x450.jpg founder Martin Lewis says advisers’ client meetings have “massive evidential issues” and claims his website should not be judged alongside the advice industry.

In a interview with Money Marketing, to be published in full in our next issue, Lewis hits back at criticism his website is not under close enough scrutiny.

He says that, unlike advisers, every piece of content produced by the website is open to the oversight of millions of people.

As a consequence, Lewis, who says he is a “big supporter” financial advice, argues the tighter regulatory regime advisers operate under is justified.

He says: “I have had IFAs having a go saying it’s outrageous that our site is not regulated.

“We are regulated in some areas where it is necessary to be but the bigger point is you can’t deny that if an IFA were to give some horrendous advice one-on-one in their office you have massive evidential issues with what’s happened.

“In my job we publish to 15 million users a month and you can check whatever we’ve written back in time, I have no deniability.

“So there is an implicit scrutiny of those of us who work in mass media and I would argue our scrutiny, while it is not regulatory scrutiny, is just as tight.

“You can’t do an equal judgment between someone hidden in a back office and a very open, transparent website that is on the record with everything it does and gives information to millions of people.”

Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford says: “We work in a highly regulated structure and we’re members of professional bodies, we hold a high standard of ethics, and you simply don’t have that if you’re the owner of a price comparison website.”