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Martin Lewis (financial journalist)

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Collection: 1972 Births, Alumni of Cardiff University, Alumni of the London School of Economics, British Business and Financial Journalists, British Finance and Investment Writers, English Columnists, English Jews, English Television Presenters, Gmtv Presenters and Reporters, Itv Breakfast Presenters and Reporters, Living People, Male Actors from Manchester, People Educated at the King's School, Chester, People from Withington
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Martin Lewis (financial journalist)

Martin Lewis
OBE
Born (1972-05-09) 9 May 1972
Withington, Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK
Occupation Television presenter, journalist, author, entrepreneur
Known for Founder, Editor and Chief of MoneySavingExpert.com, Saving the UK Consumer Money.
Television The Martin Lewis Money Show, Good Morning Britain (2014 TV programme)
Spouse(s) Lara Lewington (m. 2009)
Family Debby Jupe (sister)
Website MoneySavingExpert.com

Martin Steven Lewis OBE (born 9 May 1972 in Withington, Manchester, Lancashire) is an English journalist, television presenter and author. He also created the website MoneySavingExpert.com

Lewis markets himself as , and is often referred to in the media as, a "consumer campaigner" and "consumer champion" and uses the (trademarked) title of "Money Saving Expert".

Since 2012, Lewis has co-presented his own ITV primetime show The Martin Lewis Money Show with Saira Khan.

Contents

  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Early career 2.1
    • TV and radio 2.2
    • Writing career 2.3
      • Newspapers 2.3.1
      • Books 2.3.2
    • Money Saving Expert 2.4
    • Ethical claims 2.5
    • Financial status 2.6
  • Controversy 3
    • Unauthorised business promotion 3.1
  • Campaigns 4
    • Bank charges 4.1
    • Council tax 4.2
    • Energy bills 4.3
    • Others 4.4
  • Recognition 5
  • Personal life 6
  • Books 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life and education

Lewis was born at Withington Hospital in Manchester in 1972. His family lived in the Manchester suburb of Didsbury. While still a youngster, Lewis moved with his family to the village of Norley near Delamere Forest in rural Cheshire where his father was appointed headmaster of Delamere Forest School; a Jewish school for students with special educational needs.[1]

Lewis attended the King's School, an independent school in Chester.[2][3] Lewis went on to read government and law at the London School of Economics. In 1997, Lewis became a postgraduate student in broadcast journalism at Cardiff University Centre for Journalism Studies. In 2013, Lewis was given an honorary doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Chester.[4]

Career

Early career

After graduating, Lewis was appointed as the general secretary of the LSE Students' Union.[5]

Lewis then went to work in the City of London for the Brunswick Group, a financial communications consultancy.[6]

Lewis has also tried his hand at stand-up comedy, reaching the final of Young Jewish Stand-up of the Year with a set written by two former University friends, comedian Gary Delaney and football writer Neil Andrews.[7]

TV and radio

After graduating as a journalist, Lewis became a producer for the BBC Business Unit working on the BBC Radio Five Live business programmes.

Lewis was then appointed as an editor of the BBC Radio 4's Today Programme business slot.[8]

Lewis then moved to Sky's Angela Rippon fronted programme Simply Money, where he cultivated his Money Saving Expert persona.[8] From the outset, the satellite channel suffered poor viewing figures, and eventually its main backer, Invest TV Resources, decided to pull the plug in March 2001. Almost all of its 51 staff, including Lewis, lost their jobs.[9]

After the collapse of Simply Money, Lewis was asked to write a "Deal of the Week" column in the Sunday Express. Lewis was also granted MoneySavingExpert slots on Channel 5's Open House with Gloria Hunniford.

Lewis was invited back to the BBC to work as a business and personal finance reporter for the Corporation's BBC One Breakfast News.[10] Lewis has also been interviewed for BBC Radio 4's Money Box.

In 2005, Lewis was given a daytime television series on ITV called Make Me Rich and in 2008, a peak time programme on Five called It Pays to Watch!.[11] Lewis has also presented money special editions for ITV's Tonight, and has featured as a "Money Saving Expert" on several other magazine programmes including Good Morning Britain and Lorraine.

Lewis currently appears on ITV's This Morning, Channel 5's The Wright Stuff and as a guest on other news and magazine programmes including periodic appearances on the BBC consumer programme Watchdog. In 2012, he began co-presenting his own ITV show The Martin Lewis Money Show, alongside Saira Khan.

Lewis has an ongoing phone-in slot on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show and BBC Radio 1's Jo Whiley. He is also a regular contributor on Shelagh Fogarty's noonday BBC Radio 5 Live show on Thursdays.

Lewis has also been a guest on The Sarah Millican Television Programme, where Sarah made jokes at his expense while interviewing him.

Writing career

Newspapers

Lewis has a fortnightly column in the Sunday Post and a monthly regional syndicated column in the Manchester Evening News and the Express & Star amongst others. He has been a past columnist for the Sunday Times, News of the World, The Guardian and the Sunday Express. All his columns are on the theme of money saving.

Books

He is the author of two bestselling books, The Money Diet[12] and The Three Most Important Lessons You've Never Been Taught[13][14] and edited another, Thrifty Ways for Modern Days,[15] which was based on contributions to a forum on his website.

Money Saving Expert

Lewis created and runs the website MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE). In September 2012 he sold the website to the Moneysupermarket.com group for up to £87m - though he remains editor-in-chief. The deal saw Lewis receive £35m cash upfront in addition to 22.1m shares in Moneysupermarket.com and £27m in future payments.[16] He simultaneously announced intention to gift £10m to charity, of which £1m would go to Citizens Advice.[17]

As of February 2012 MSE was reportedly ranked the biggest consumer and personal finance site in the UK with over 13 million users each month. Lewis claims to hold 7 million email addresses of those opting for the free Martin's Money Tips weekly e-mail.[18]

The website was originally designed for Lewis for a cost of just £100 in February 2003.[19]

Ethical claims

MoneySavingExpert.com makes strong claims about its ethical status, defined as only ever writing about the best products, without allowing revenue to impact that. These claims are boosted by its publicised donation of almost £500,000 to date to the MSE Charity Fund. This money is in turn distributed: two thirds to the MSE Charity and the rest to five other charities nominated by site users.[19][20][21]

Financial status

Since September 2012, the website is wholly owned by Moneysupermarket Group.[22] It was previously run as an unlimited company Moneysavingexpert.com.[23]

In July 2015 Lewis sold just over half his shareholding in Moneysupermarket.com, obtained in the sale of Money Saving Expert, for £25.2 million.[24]

Controversy

Unauthorised business promotion

In 2010, Martin Lewis was a presenter on GMTV with Lorraine, a lively weekday morning chat show. The programme includes a regular feature called Deals of the Week. Ofcom investigated a complaint that the programme promoted moneysavingexpert.com, a website owned and run by Mr Lewis as a commercial enterprise.

Lewis denied any wrongdoing, and continues to do so. However, the Ofcom report concluded: 'By inviting viewers to obtain further information and vouchers on the GMTV website, and then re-directing them to Martin Lewis' commercial website to obtain that information, the programme was effectively promoting his business. As a result of this promotion, the programme was in breach of Rule 10.3 of the Code.'[25][26]

Campaigns

Bank charges

In late 2005, campaigns against what were claimed to be unfair bank charges gained momentum and a few small websites started to highlight the issue. Lewis was at the forefront of the media campaign to reclaim what he states are unfair and unlawful fees charged by UK banks. He presented the first mainstream television programme on how to get your money back (ITV1's Tonight) and in November 2006 published a step-by-step guide, including template letters, which speedily achieved its millionth download in February 2007 and by August 2007 had over four million downloads[27][28] as well as regularly appearing across the media to champion the issue.

His campaign suffered a major setback in November 2009 when the Supreme Court ruled that the charges imposed by banks formed part of their fees for current account services and could not be assessed for fairness under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.[29] Although in the following days he announced that in association with other consumer groups he had hired Ray Cox QC (a barrister with previous experience of banking cases[30]) to look into new legal arguments for account holders wishing to reclaim charges, which might possibly use regulation 5 of the Unfair Terms act as suggested by the Supreme Court Judgement,[31][32] This attempt suffered a further setback when, on 22 December 2009, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a statement saying that it had decided against taking forward such an investigation because it "would have a very limited scope and low prospects of success".[33] The updated template letters allowing individuals to attempt to recover bank charges individually was further delayed from the promised date of the third week of January 2010[34] eventually being published late on 2 February 2010[35] although that then concentrated mainly on reclaiming on financial hardship grounds only, with hopes for further information regarding claims on legal grounds made via courts to "go live in the next couple of weeks";[36] the guide was eventually published late on 24 February 2010.[37]

Lewis initially admitted "our instinctive guess is even with the new argument there is only a 10-20% chance of most people now getting charges back".[38] although in his later updated guide said in relation to claiming via the courts the "chances of success are impossible to work out" and also "if you’ve had charges and don’t fit the Ombudsman’s criteria, it’s at this point you may need to accept you won’t get your money back or at least wait to see others are successful.".[37]

Council tax

In January 2007, he presented a programme Tonight on Council Tax Cashback,[39] a campaign to get everyone in the UK to check and potentially challenge their Council Tax band, that first started on his website and has led, according to his website, to "many" backdated windfall payments resulting from thousands of claims.[40]

Energy bills

In summer 2008, Lewis appeared on several television & radio programmes exhorting consumers to "cap your energy bills now", based on the prediction that there would be a further round of price increases at the end of 2008.[41] "Capping prices" involved consumers locking themselves into rates higher than prevailing un-capped rates. After that point British Gas announced an increase of 30% on its un-capped prices, though in January 2009 UK energy companies' un-capped prices were reduced by up to 10%.

Information published by Uswitch, a price comparison site whose business motivation is to encourage frequent switching between energy suppliers, after the price cuts, in February 2009, suggested that "Those who were savvy enough to sign up to a competitive fixed-price plan last summer, before some increases in wholesale energy were passed on, are sitting pretty as prices would need to drop by 16% on average before it would be worth moving"[42] but failed to be clear about which specific capped deals it was basing this assertion on, and when it was sensible to have committed to a capped rate deal.

Others

Other large scale campaigns, with ensuing television programmes, include reclaiming payment protection insurance[43] (it is predicted that this may grow to the same scale as bank charge reclaiming),[44] reclaiming mortgage exit fees[45] and reclaiming credit card charges,[46] all of which have resulted in over 100,000 template letter downloads, according to Lewis' website.[28]

Recognition

Lewis became a Governor of the London School of Economics in 2008.[47] He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to consumer rights and to charitable services through the MSE Charity Fund.[48][49]

Personal life

Lewis is married to long-time partner, former 5 News weather presenter Lara Lewington. [50][51][52] They were married on 31 May 2009. She gave birth to her first baby, Sapphire Susan Lewis, on 1 November 2012.[2][53]

Other than money saving, Lewis declares his interests as playing Scrabble, golf and reading historic novels.[54] Being born only a few miles from Maine Road in Withington, Manchester,[55] he is a keen supporter of Manchester City.

Lewis is Jewish and practices the Jewish faith.[56]

Books

  • (2005) The Money Diet: The Ultimate Guide to Shedding Pounds Off Your Bills and Saving Money on Everything!, Vermilion
  • (ed 2006) Thrifty Ways for Modern Days, Vermilion
  • (2008) The Three Most Important Lessons You've Never Been Taught: MoneySavingExpert.Com, Vermilion

References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Martin Lewis Blog - July 2005
  4. ^ url=http://blog.moneysavingexpert.com/2013/11/08/10-things-about-work-life-and-money-every-graduate-should-know/
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Metro, 6 December 2005, Martin Lewis
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18295587
  17. ^ Wall, Emma, "Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert website for £87m", The Telegraph, 1 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b MoneySavingExpert.com, About
  20. ^ How this site is financed MoneySavingExpert.com
  21. ^ MSE Charity Fund MoneySavingExpert.com
  22. ^ http://www.dailypost.co.uk/business-news/business-news/2012/09/21/ewloe-based-moneysupermarket-completes-87m-acquisition-of-moneysavingexpert-55578-31881813/
  23. ^ Companies House Companies House website - enter company number 04557992 and press "search"
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ a b
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ Leaving a fixed deal could save you money Times Online, 15 February 2009
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60895. p. b13. 14 June 2014.
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ Lara Lewington and Jonnie Irwin, OK! magazine, 18 November 2008.
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^

External links

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