Martin Lewis cashes in, but so do we
So Martin Lewis has just become a squillionaire after selling his MoneySavingExpert.com website for £87m to price comparison website MoneySupermarket.com
I hear that Mr Lewis, who started his website in 2003, will get an initial £35m plus shares in MoneySupermarket.com worth £25m and that after three years he may receive a further £27m in cash and shares.
That’s a load of dosh for a personal finance website isn’t it? And some will claim it is undeserved. You see, Mr Lewis has been a controversial figure, particularly among IFAs. Many criticise him for cashing in on what they do, which is give financial advice, without being regulated by the FSA and having to go through all the gruelling costly and time consuming training, compliance, admin etc etc etc.
He also came under fire after the collapse of the Icelandic bank Icesave in 2008 because he had suggested his readers put money with it.
Others have said often he relies on tips and helpful hints from users and reader forums and owes much of his success and fortune to those who contribute to his website.
I do not think any of the above matters. And I do not actually think he can be accused of giving financial advice. He presents options, information, deals and bargains and it is up to the user to decide what to do.
I like what Mr Lewis has done. I love his website. I use it all the time. The guides to reclaiming money, the calculators, the special offers, are all fantastic. Many people are drawn to the website for the bargains. What I particularly like is the list of the top savings and Isa accounts, as well as the energy switching tools.
The site is used by millions because it is well designed and fills a void. It has also brought personal finance to the forefront of people’s minds and it actually helps people directly to save money. That is worth its weight in gold. The website has become part of people’s daily internet lives, like Facebook or Twitter.
Mr Lewis is also staunchly on the side of the consumer, and has openly criticised banks for levying high overdraft fees and other charges, bringing the issue to the attention of the media and wider public.
The website is genius really, so good on Mr Lewis for having the vision to set it up and get it running. And good on him for promising to give £10m of his new found wealth to charity. I wonder what his next venture will be.