You have just left the Daily Mail’s City desk to join MRM as a consultant – what was it like working at Britain’s biggest quality paper?
In short, the pressure could be brutal, the hours long and the deadlines endless. But at the same time everyone, including me, took immense pride in the quality of each edition, particularly the Money and City sections.
Everyone has an opinion of the Daily Mail – good or bad. Political views aside though, I genuinely think the Mail employs some of the country’s best journalists and editors and it was an honour to work alongside them.
You are now working within the news and content team at MRM – what will your new role entail?
The way the landscape has shifted means content is king now, and clients are increasingly aware of the need to be able to get their messages to more of the right people, via the right channels. I’m at MRM to help them to do this.
On a day-to-day basis that means planning media strategies and highlighting newsworthy topics, as well as creating exciting content for clients, be that research or white papers, press releases, blogs, opinion pieces, or other communications.
What are you hoping to achieve in the new role?
Working alongside Nick Paler, our aim is quite simple really: to use our knowledge and network of contacts externally to build a team with the skills and expertise to help clients find new, innovative ways of telling their stories to those who matter the most to them.
If you could give one piece of financial advice to a teenage version of yourself, what would it be?
Put some money away every month, no matter how small. I was always rubbish at this and used to think that any cash I had left at the end of the month was a sign from the gods that I should head down the pub. It would have made life a lot easier if I was more sensible with my money early on in my career.
What three things would you do if you were head of the FCA?
- The first thing I would do is draw up a joined-up approach to combating fraud, in consultation with the industry. Banks are often slow to react and communicate with each other when notified about a fraud case, meaning vital time is lost. The whole industry needs to up its game.
- I’d conduct a complete overhaul of mortgage fees. They are opaque and there are way too many of them. Unbelievably, some lenders charge you a fee to close your mortgage account once you’ve finished paying it, while there needs to be a thorough review of the second charge mortgage market as well.
- There is lots of activity now taking place amongst companies and industry bodies when it comes to financial education, but much of it feels like box ticking, rather than a concerted effort to actually foster change. If we truly want people in the UK to be better with money it needs to be a far higher priority.
What’s your biggest pet peeve or makes you angry?
Nearly everyone says they hate jargon. But what annoys me more are people who say they hate jargon and then spout a load of it – usually in the same sentence.
Now, tell us a little about your life outside of work, do you have any hobbies?
As a Welshman, you won’t be surprised to hear I’m a huge rugby fan. Next year I’m hoping to get out to Japan to see Wales walk away with the World Cup trophy. I’m also a Swansea City supporter and, for my sins, still have a season ticket, although these days I only get back to see a handful of games a season.
To some of you this will sound like I’m an old man, to others a hipster, but I’ve recently started brewing my own beer at home. It’s pretty dreadful but I’m getting there.
I’ve also recently picked up playing the guitar again, something I haven’t done in about 10 years. It’s not like riding a bike, trust me. Oh, and I’m learning German (my girlfriend is Austrian).
What is the one column or website that you read every day?
There’s a long list. On the journey into work I read the Times and Telegraph apps, as well as the Mail (obviously). During the day I regularly check Twitter, BBC Business’ rolling blog, Fast FT and Guido Fawkes. I’ll also keep an eye on the FCA and gov.uk websites for new announcements.
What would you do if you received a windfall of £10,000?
It’s a straight shootout between a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar or converting the shed into a microbrewery.