Martin Lewis (financial journalist)
Martin Steven Lewis
9 May 1972
|Education||The King's School, Chester|
|Alma mater||London School of Economics|
|Occupation||Television presenter, journalist, author, entrepreneur|
|Known for||Founder, editor-in-chief of MoneySavingExpert.com|
|Television||The Martin Lewis Money Show, This Morning, Good Morning Britain|
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 child, he 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. He lost his mother in a car accident during his childhood, and in later life became a patron of the children's bereavement charity Grief Encounter and an advocate for life insurance.
Lewis attended The King's School, an independent school in Chester. He went on to read Government and Law at the London School of Economics, and in 1997, became a postgraduate student in Broadcast Journalism at Cardiff University's Centre for Journalism Studies. In 2013, he was given an honorary doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Chester.
After graduating, Lewis was the general secretary of the LSE Students' Union. He then went to work in the City of London for the Brunswick Group, a financial communications consultancy. Lewis has also tried his hand at stand-up comedy, performing at the Hackney Empire among other venues, with a set written by two former LSE friends, comedian Gary Delaney and football writer Neil Andrews.
TV and radio
After graduating in journalism at Cardiff University, Lewis became a producer for the BBC Business Unit working on the BBC Radio Five Live business programmes and as an editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme business slot. Lewis then moved to satellite channel Simply Money, fronted by Angela Rippon, where he cultivated his "Money Saving Expert" persona. From the outset, the channel suffered poor viewing figures and its main backer, Invest TV Resources, withdrew their support in March 2001. Almost all of its 51 staff, including Lewis, lost their jobs.
After the collapse of Simply Money, Lewis contributed to a "Deal of the Week" column in the Sunday Express. Lewis also presented "Money Saving Expert" slots on Channel 5's daytime show, Open House with Gloria Hunniford. Lewis returned to the BBC to work as a business and personal finance reporter for the Corporation's BBC One Breakfast News. In 2005, Lewis presented a daytime television series on ITV called Make Me Rich and in 2008 and a peak time programme on Five called It Pays to Watch!. 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 and as an occasional guest on other news and magazine programmes. In 2012, he began co-presenting The Martin Lewis Money Show, initially with Saira Khan, and more recently with Angelica Bell. He also appears weekly on the Emma Barnett Show on BBC's Radio Five Live. In June 2020 he appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.
Money Saving Expert
In October 2002, Martin appeared in the Meridian Trust's (now Public Service Broadcasting Trust) live Spotlight Programme "Save yourself a fortune" on ITV Meridian as their Money Saving Expert for the first time. The programme subsequently won the Royal Television Society Educational Award – 2002 Campaigns and Seasons.
Lewis created and runs the website MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE), which was originally designed for a cost of just £100 in February 2003. In September 2012 he sold the website to the Moneysupermarket.com group for up to £87m, while remaining 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. He simultaneously announced his intention to give £10m to charity, of which £1m would go to Citizens Advice.
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. On the back of this, he donated a further £1m to Citizens Advice and £500,000 each to The Trussell Trust and the Personal Finance Education Group to fund financial triage and education work. His personal wealth is estimated at £125 million. In 2018 Lewis started legal action against Facebook for defamation over fake adverts using his face and name, mostly promoting "bitcoin" and "investing". He later dropped the action after Facebook agreed to fund an anti-scam project.
Lewis has a fortnightly column in The Sunday Post and a regional syndicated column in The Yorkshire Post, the Manchester Evening News and the Express & Star amongst others. He has been a columnist for The Sunday Times, News of the World, The Guardian and the Sunday Express. All his columns are on the theme of saving money.
In 2010, Martin Lewis was a presenter on GMTV with Lorraine, a 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 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." No action was taken against Lewis.
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 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 of the United Kingdom 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. Lewis, along with and other consumer groups, hired Ray Cox QC (a barrister with previous experience of banking cases) 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.
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". Lewis published updated template letters allowing individuals to attempt to recover bank charges on financial hardship grounds on 2 February 2010, and information regarding claims on legal grounds made via courts was published on 24 February 2010.
In summer 2008, Lewis appeared on several television and 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. "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" 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.
In 2011, Lewis launched the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information with former National Union of Students president Wes Streeting and backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to provide information to potential students about the changes to tuition fees and student loans resulting from the Browne Review. After subtle changes to student loan repayments were announced in the Autumn Statement of 2015, Lewis appealed directly to the Prime Minister and engaged lawyers to investigate. He asserted that freezing the repayment threshold would represent a retroactive hike in student loan costs that could "destroy any trust" that students have in the student finance and political systems.
Mental health and debt
In 2016, Lewis launched and provided funding for the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, a think tank directed by former Liberal Democrat adviser Polly Mackenzie to study the link between mental health issues and debt.
Lewis's other large scale campaigns, with ensuing television programmes, include reclaiming payment protection insurance (it is predicted that this may grow to the same scale as bank charge reclaiming).
Lewis became a Governor of the London School of Economics in 2008. He was appointed an 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.
Lewis was named the Best Personal Finance Broadcast Journalist in 2020 by ADVFN.
Lewis is married to long-time partner, former 5 News weather presenter Lara Lewington. They were married on 31 May 2009. She gave birth to their daughter in November 2012. Lewis is Jewish and practises the Jewish faith. As of 2021, The Sunday Times Rich List estimates his net worth at £123 million.
- (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
- Jardine, Cassandra (6 January 2006). "This man can save you £6,000 a year". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Gosling, Francesca (9 May 2017). "I admire William and Harry for speaking about losing their mother, says Martin Lewis". Independent.ie. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
- Taylor, Paul (21 February 2007). "Mr Supersaver's on a mission". Manchester Evening News. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Martin Lewis: Money man". The Independent. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Martin Lewis". Metro. 6 December 2005.
- Vickers, Amy (28 March 2001). "Backers abandon Simply Money". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "BBC Business Report 2001". BBC News Online. 4 July 2001. Retrieved 3 September 2006.
- "It Pays to Watch website". Archived from the original on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
- "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Martin Lewis, financial campaigner". BBC. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
- "Educational Television Awards 2002". Royal Television Society. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
- Jones, Ellen E (1 June 2012). "Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert.com for £87m". The Independent.
- "Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert.com for £87m". BBC News Online. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- Wall, Emma (1 June 2012). "Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert website for £87m". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- "Martin Lewis nets £25m after selling Moneysupermarket.com shares". The Guardian. Press Association. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
- Cowburn, Ashley (31 October 2015). "Foodbanks to start offering financial and debt advice after Martin Lewis donation". The Independent.
- Hattenstone, Simon (22 June 2020). "Martin Lewis: 'Having money is not happiness, but not having money destroys lives'". The Guardian.
- "Martin Lewis calls for publishers to act over fake news ads". The Guardian. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- "GMTV Deal Feature Broke Broadcasting Rules". Sky News. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
- Hickman, Martin (23 February 2007). "From banks to football, the consumers' revolt grows". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 February 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
- "Court rules in favour of banks on charges". Reuters. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- "Ray Cox QC Biography". Fountain Courts. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
- Evans, Richard (25 November 2009). "Overdraft charges: it's not over yet, says Martin Lewis". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 29 November 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
- "OFT announces decision and next steps on bank charges". Office of Fair Trading. Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
- "Martin's Money Tips Weekly Email, 3 February 2010". MoneySavingExpert.com. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
- "Power price hike". GMTV. 7 August 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
GMTV's Martin Lewis said: "EDF is the first of the big six suppliers to announce a price rise. Once one provider puts its prices up, the others normally follow within five to six weeks, as they operate a herd mentality. I urge everyone to cap their tariffs at the cheapest possible rate as soon as possible. ¶ By that, I mean today or tomorrow and no later. You can still lock in cheap prices if you do it straight away, but cheap caps are vanishing faster than a rabbit at a greyhound track. Do remember that this is only the first round of rises; expect another round in December or January, if not earlier — this is why fixing's so important."[permanent dead link]
- "Leaving a fixed deal could save you money". The Times. 15 February 2009.
- "New student finance taskforce launched". Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 17 June 2011.
- Connington, James (15 January 2016). "Martin Lewis appeals directly to David Cameron in letter on student loans". The Daily Telegraph.
- Elgot, Jessica (5 March 2016). "Mental health and debt crisis: we have to act, say thinktank founders". The Guardian.
- Hickman, Martin. "£4bn protection racket". The Independent. Retrieved 20 January 2007.
- "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b13.
- "Queen's birthday honours list 2014: OBE". The Guardian. 13 June 2014.
- "ADVFN 2020 International Financial Awards". uk.advfn.com. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- Welch, Ben (17 January 2019). "Martin Lewis storms out of synagogue with his family over speaker's 'polemical' Shabbat speech". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- "Lara Lewington and Jonnie Irwin". OK!. 18 November 2008. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009.
- Round, Simon (13 September 2012). "Martin Lewis: the money expert who can save on anything except kosher meat". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- "Martin Lewis net worth — Sunday Times Rich List 2021". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
- Collinson, Patrick (15 January 2005). "Proud to be a terrorist". The Guardian.
- Kurs, Simon (1 January 2006). "Kings of the Online Jungle". The Times. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008.
- Collinson, Patrick (16 December 2005). "Cashing in on being a real nerd". The Guardian.
- Lewis, Martin (22 March 2006). "Martin Lewis moneysaving champ". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012.
- Collinson, Patrick (4 May 2006). "Countdown to a conundrum: Vorderman urged to stop adverts for loan company". The Guardian.
- "Martin Lewis interview". My Village. Archived from the original on 22 September 2008.