Well-informed consumers are good for business, Martin Lewis tells entrepreneurs

29 May 2014

Consumer finance expert Martin Lewis talked consumer rights, fame, renting, and payday lenders with over 250 young City professionals at Norwood’s YN Business, Finance and Entrepreneurs Dinner last night on Wednesday 28 May at the Lancaster Hotel.

In an interview with Sky News’ Samantha Simmonds, Martin Lewis explained how, when he started out, he had to persuade broadcasters that there was a market for practical tips on how to save people money. Now, Martin’s weekly Money Saving Expert email is read by over 9 million people.

He told the audience that if consumers were better informed about the financial products available to them the UK would have a more “competitive marketplace” which would, in turn, be good for business.

The event raised more than £70,000 for Norwood, a charity which supports vulnerable children, families and people with learning disabilities, at home, at school and throughout their lives.

Martin Lewis described the day “we got financial education on the curriculum” as the proudest moment of his career, adding that the idea of “enforced debt”, through student loans, has removed the stigma associated with borrowing.

He also called for much tougher regulation for payday lenders, adding that payday lending marketing that appeals to children is “socially reprehensible” and that the payday lending model has been “normalised”. Martin Lewis also said that because for so some young people "renting is a dirty word," many take out mortgages that they cannot afford.

During the audience Q&A, Rochelle Adler, who has autism and is supported by Norwood to live independently, talked about how important it was for her to be involved and to make her own decisions about where she lives and the support she receives.
The panel discussion was sponsored by Investec Specialist Bank and was followed by an auction and a raffle. Guests bid for prizes including a luxury break in Las Vegas and a Porsche racing experience.

YN Board Chair Yonni Abramson said: “There was a fantastic atmosphere in the room and, thanks to the generosity of our guests, the money we raised will change thousands of lives for the better."