4 December 2019
Our partnership with The Times
The Times and Sunday Times have launched a new personal finance website, called Money Mentor. It's designed to help people make better decisions about their finances - and as part of that, we're delighted to announce that they have entered into a partnership with Fairer Finance, to use our customer experience and product ratings.
They also asked us to create new ratings in a number of areas which we didn't yet cover - such as investment platforms, equity release and online will writers. And these new ratings will appear exclusively on the Money Mentor site.
How does the partnership work?
News UK - which owns The Times and Sunday Times - commissioned and paid us to create the new ratings. They'll also pay us an ongoing fee for keeping them up to date. And as part of that deal, they also get to publish our existing ratings on their site.
As with all our ratings, we developed our methodology independently, and The Times does not have a say over which companies perform well and which don't. We review our customer experience methodology every six months (in June/July and December/February), and our product rating methodology once a year (in November/December). We always welcome feedback from the industry and any other interested stakeholders, and see ourselves as being on a journey of continual improvement.
All ratings are subjective, as different consumers have different needs. But our aim is to come up with short cuts that can help as many consumers as possible make more informed choices. To achieve that, we need to have a positive relationship with the industry - and we're always happy to meet companies, and hear their suggestions and feedback.
Although our new investment platform, equity release and online will writer ratings will only appear on the Money Mentor site, we continue to control the data and methodology.
Our old ratings - on banking and insurance products - will also be displayed on the Money Mentor site, but they'll also continue to be shown on our own site too.
How will Money Mentor make money?
For the new ratings, News UK will aim to make money by selling endorsements to companies who do well. These will be badged as Times endorsements - but will be based entirely on Fairer Finance data.
News UK will also sell advertising packages to companies and provide paid links to advertiser's sites.
Fairer Finance will receive a share of revenue from the endorsement sales - but not from revenue generated by paid links or advertising. Money Mentor publishes its own page explaining How it makes its money on its site.
What does this partnership mean for Fairer Finance?
Fairer Finance's ratings were created to drive positive change in the financial services sector, by providing a way for companies to compete on things other than price.
We don't charge consumers to use or view our ratings, and we don't make any money from consumers in any other way. That's meant we couldn't afford to spend money raising our brand awareness or driving traffic to our site. It's always been our intention to work with respected companies to publish our ratings and data in places where consumers already come.
Our partnership with The Times is the first time our ratings will be published in a high profile consumer website - and we hope that means that many more people will base their decisions on our data.
We also hope that it means more companies will positively engage with us.
Fairer Finance makes its money by working with businesses. Companies can buy access to all the data that underpins our ratings - to help them develop and improve their products and customer experience. They can also work with us to improve the clarity of their technical documents and their product journeys.
We hope that through our partnership with The Times, more companies will want to do both of those things.
Is Fairer Finance independent?
Fairer Finance is owned by James Daley, Andrew Freeman and our polling partner Opinium. To protect our independence and ensure we never put our commercial interests ahead of our mission, we have a Consumer Advisory Board, which scrutinises all our commercial contracts, commentary and research.
They audit the business every year and provide an annual report.
Our partnership with The Times will have no bearing on our independence - and we'll continue to talk to journalists from all media. James Daley will continue to write a column in the Daily Telegraph.
We hope that in the future, we will build similar partnerships with comparison sites, and other media businesses who can give exposure to our ratings.
How can companies and consumers engage with Fairer Finance?
If you spot any errors in our data, we want to hear from you straight away. Our ratings are updated every day, and we'll always correct any errors as soon as we become aware of them.
We'd also love to hear from you if you have any feedback on our ratings.
Companies can contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Consumers can contact us by emailing email@example.com
We don't offer financial advice. But if you've had a bad or a good experience with a financial services provider, we'd love you to share your stories with us. Where we're able to provide guidance on complaints cases we will do - but we can't guarantee we'll be able to support individuals.