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Past Editors: Stephen Mc Dowell Editor, 1988 – 2000

There were murmurs of discontent in the Money Marketing newsroom as it became known that the overbearing news editor of Financial Adviser had been appointed as the editor, the first to come over from the “other side”.

“Enemy in our ranks,” muttered the foot soldiers. I remember well the gallery of blank faces at my first news conference and feeling like I was looking into the eyes of a tiger. But which one of us was more scared?

But we got through it and over the next six months I was gradually forgiven for wearing the mark of Satan as I gleefully plundered some of the talent from my former employer and we settled into a competitive routine of digging out the best stories of the day. There were incidents along the way, including a fall from grace, well a table actually, at the Battersea Oktoberfest.

The team expanded, with more features personnel and with a talented news team, most of whom have moved on to national newspapers. The awards shelf continued to bulge.

Some stupendous stories we got too – we got stuck into numerous campaigns including a stance on mutuality which led to Money Marketing being the first-ever trade newspaper to give evidence before the all-powerful Treasury select committee.

Myself and reporter Gregor Paul sat behind a glum-looking lain Lumsden, then group finance director of Standard Life, as he took a terrible hammering from the committee.

Gregor and I unsuccessfully tried to stifle a smirk as he denied being a self-serving elitist. The firebrands on the committee were just trying to score points from the unfortunate man. It was great copy and it was gleefully reported by our first-ever political editor – one John Lappin.

But perhaps the most fun campaign we created happened almost by accident. No one really remembers whose idea it was or how many pints in the Star & Garter in Poland Street it took for Bungle Busters to be born.

But born it was and it went straight to the heart of the IFA’s most sensitive part – his wallet – as readers up and down the country grassed up providers on our hotline. We called them and they panicked, one even threatening libel action – and his company had only got one vote, compared with hundreds we had taken back to the companies with a “what are you going to do about it?” message. I now know that at least one company held a meeting at the highest level after its bungles had been busted.

It sort of summed up for me what Money Marketing was about – sharp, robust, challenging and fun, all traits for which it is still respected. It was hard work but great fun. I have no doubt there is another 20 successful years ahead for Money Marketing.


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