DAN HYDE: We’ll carry on fighting to protect your family’s future

Author: Dan Hyde for the Daily Mail  Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 Click here to view original web page at www.dailymail.co.uk

Ob behalf of everyone at Money Mail, thank you.

Your stories in the hundreds of letters and emails that fill our postbag each week have been the lifeblood of this section the past five decades.

None of the great campaigns we have waged to improve your financial lot could have been won if you weren’t prepared to tell us your stories.

So many of the most important articles we have published were made possible only after a reader got in touch.

None of the great campaigns we have waged to improve your financial lot could have been won if you weren’t prepared to tell us your stories

We could never have held to account such giant firms as Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds without brave whistleblowers giving us the scoop on the wrongdoing they had witnessed.

And it is only when you are prepared to appear in the pages of Money Mail that politicians and company bosses start to listen. Your stories shame them and force them to act.

One of the great strengths of Money Mail since our launch on this day in 1966 has been its close bond with readers. That has never been clearer to me than when we started work on today’s 50th anniversary edition.

Tony Hazell, who edited Money Mail between 1999 and 2011, told me he used to speak to money editors on other papers who admitted they threw readers’ letters in the bin.

What an outrage. Like all six of Money Mail’s editors before me, I cannot rest until I’ve read them all.

Sometimes, our readers seem like an extra member of the editorial team. You point us towards the scandals we need to investigate and respond to our requests for help at a moment’s notice.

The strongest example of that was in the late Nineties, when we were one of the first newspapers to expose the endowment mis-selling scandal. Without your help, those products might still be on sale today.

Whether it was decimalisation, Eighties and Nineties pension scandals or the 2008 financial crash, our guiding belief has not wavered: to work tirelessly to help you keep your family’s finances on track.

Something that has set Money Mail apart is the continuity in our editing team. Each Money Mail editor since Margaret Stone (the third of just six in the past 50 years) has hand-picked their successor. That has become a rarity in journalism today.

Patrick Sergeant, our City Editor in 1966, founded Money Mail, because he noticed that there was not enough helpful information for hard-working families to make sense of the financial world. It was only the rich who had access to the sort of inside knowledge you needed to build up a small fortune.

Since then, it has got only trickier to stay on top of all bills, scams, technology and the reforms to pensions, Isas, mortgages and the way we pay for gas, electricity and telecoms.

Patrick’s founding words ring just as true today: ‘You slaved for your savings, make them work hard for you.’

When he retired, Money Mail was briefly run by David Lewis, but it really began to morph into what you read every Wednesday when Margaret Stone became editor in 1986.

She made Money Mail a section in the newspaper in its own right, rather than an extension of the City pages.

Her first column set out a vision which has held firm for the past 30 years. She talked through her own family finances and delivered this key message: our readers’ concerns were also her concerns. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

When Tony Hazell took over as Money Mail editor, he made a big push to increase our campaigning. The terrific responses from readers were key to showing the government and businesses that they couldn’t bury their heads in the sand.

There were times when your enthusiasm caused problems, however.

Tony recalls how Nationwide Building Society’s cash Isa department was swamped when we recommended a product and Tesco Bank’s switchboard broke down when it launched an account exclusively through Money Mail.

James Coney took over as editor in 2011 with a huge job in trying to restore trust in the financial services industry following the banking crisis.

He, like you, was sickened to discover the extent of the greed that brought the financial world crashing down, with painful consequences for families everywhere.

It became more and more apparent that many companies were just as happy to rip off families, loyal customers and savers in need of help as they were big-shot financiers in the City of London.

Our campaign that followed the crash — Get Britain Saving — was a plea to banks, insurers and other financial firms to put customers back at the heart of their businesses.

One of my biggest concerns as the world turns digital in the 21st century is that we will forget that saving, investing, borrowing and owning a home is about families, not technology, bumper profits and getting filthy rich at someone else’s expense.

When companies forget this, they start exploiting their power. Those are the moments firms tend to find Money Mail sniffing around, too.

It has been fascinating poring over 50 years of our history.

We’ve celebrated some big victories and, I hope, given your wallet a boost in the process — but we have so much unfinished business that I could fill several notebooks ranting about it.

So expect some fireworks as we embark on a fresh agenda with gusto. Let me know what you like or dislike about the section, I value all of your opinions, and tell us when you need help to win fairness when the world seems stacked against you.

We would have never reached this golden anniversary without your help.

So thank you — and here’s to the next half-century.

d.hyde@dailymail.co.uk