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Public’s trust in Martin Lewis ‘an opportunity’ for advisers ‒ analysis

  • 31/03/2023
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Public’s trust in Martin Lewis ‘an opportunity’ for advisers ‒ analysis
The financial services industry is responsible for the lack of trust it enjoys from clients, compared with the likes of Martin Lewis, brokers have suggested.

A survey by LiveMore Barometer in March found that among the over-50s Martin Lewis is more trusted than financial advisers, banks and other financial institutions.

Advisers told Mortgage Solutions that historical scandals are at least partly to blame for this situation, though some suggested that the trust people have in people like Lewis offers an opportunity to advisers.

Bringing it on ourselves

According to Gary Boakes, director of Verve Financial, the advice industry itself is somewhat to blame, given it has a “history of being untrustworthy”.

He pointed to regulation over the last decade or so which has stopped the “sales aspect that gives us a bad name”, but warned that there will continue to be issues so long as there are unregulated estate agents pushing mortgage services or financial advisers who won’t deal with people with less than £100,000 to invest.

He concluded: “Martin Lewis has built up a great reputation over a long period of time and you can tell he generally cares and wants to help people save money, I may not agree with everything he says but he is one of the good guys.”

This was echoed by Thomas Collier, advising director at Advantage Financial Solutions, who noted that the financial services industry “got really battered” when it comes to trust in the wake of the financial crisis. As a result, members of the public instead turned to online experts like Martin Lewis.

Earning trust

Lewis was praised by Riz Malik, director of R3 Mortgages, who argued that “he has done more than anyone else to increase financial literacy in the UK”, and as a result it’s no surprise that people trust him.

Malik suggested that the financial services industry should collaborate more to educate the public around the financial options open to them.

Joe Stallard, director of House and Holiday Home Mortgages, suggested it was no bad thing that so many people trust Lewis, so long as he is clear that what he says is generic, and that people are encouraged to get specific advice.


The role of the regulator

According to Samuel Mather-Holgate, IFA at Mather and Murray Financial, the approach of the regulator has actually further dented trust in independent advisers. He said that rather than “making an example of the bad actors”, the regulators instead “assume all advisers are rogue and set up redress schemes to compensate everyone, even those who weren’t mis-sold”.

He added: “The regulator seems to think Martin Lewis is more trustworthy than financial advisers, and that’s the real problem.”

However, the industry itself also needs to take some of the blame for a lack of trust in advisers, according to David Robinson, co-founder of Wildcat Law. He said that he had lost track of the number of articles written by advisers “about ‘bad’ advisers”, adding: “Perhaps if we all talked proudly about our fellow professionals the public might start to change their views?”

Lewis can help advisers

Stuart Crispe, founder at Sunny Avenue, agreed that historical scandals had “tarnished the whole financial services industry”, and welcomed the fact that Lewis gets people talking about their finances.

He added: “ Our job is to help those people understand that they can find their own personal Martin Lewis, waiting and ready to help.”

Collier noted that Lewis is playing a role in aiding advisers today, pointing to the fact that he is already directing borrowers to specialist advisers who can help them understand the over-50s mortgage market.

He added: “Martin Lewis has the power to quash the last remaining stigma and has a duty to do so given his influence.”

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