Owned By You
Mutuals are customer-centred, formed to help members get the very best from their insurance, investment and protection policies.
In today’s economic climate, mutuals are making a comeback.
So find out what others think of mutuals and mutuality – that’s customers; the mutual insurers and friendly societies themselves; the Association of Financial Mutuals or others with an interest in mutuality – such as politicians.
Above all, we want to hear your views – there’s a feedback form you can complete in this section. Why not tell us what you think of mutuality, or your experiences of mutuals or mutual products and services. Or you may just have a question for us.
We would love to hear from you.
What mutual customers say
Here’s a selection of what Mutual Customers are saying....
“The company is better being a mutual company as shareholders do not have to be paid.”
“I like to feel as though I own a piece of the action.”
“In this organisation you feel as though you have a slight control in the sense that we have a vote to stop a strategic move.”
“It seems warm, friendly... for me it's like John Lewis; in our benefit... it's belonging...”
“I think the trust element is implicit with the mutuals.”
“I like the fact that the company is not purely profit driven and customers have some say.”
“In the current climate, we need to know the company in which we invest our money is seeking to ensure our money is safe and well looked after, that you work for us and not your shareholders.”
An in-depth view
Paul Giangrande, a Haematology Consultant from Oxford- a customer of Wesleyan Medical Sickness, part of Birmingham-based Wesleyan Assurance Society.
“There are no shareholders to pay and no fat cats to be paid out of the money that I'm paying in. It is essentially a democratic organisation in which members have a say. There are no tricky shareholder groups trying to intervene or exert pressure so the focus remains on making sensible investment decisions for the benefit of members.
There’s a real sense of personal service with financial advice and products focused on my needs. For example, my income protection pays out until I secure another job as a Medical Consultant. That’s what I’ve trained to be all these years, so I don’t want to be forced to accept any paid job, as some policy conditions might state. Also Wesleyan’s long-standing financial strength and performance means I receive competitive rates and bonuses.”
What mutuals say
What do the Mutuals themselves think?
"Mutuals are all about helping people to help themselves. Risk is pooled in these organisations and members share the benefits and profits of their mutual trade."
The Mutual Manifesto
"At LV=, we’re all about helping people protect and provide for the things they love. This is something we care passionately about and we hope it shows in the way we work with you."
The Liverpool Victoria group
"Businesses with shareholders have to make profits for investors – for many the need to pay dividends is paramount. Not so for us – we have no shareholders to whom we have to pay dividends to and can focus totally on generating profits which can be used for the benefit of all our customers."
What we think
The Association of Financial Mutuals is the trade body that represents 50 Mutual organisations in the UK. We like Mutuality, here’s why...
Mutuals are striking a chord with the consumer conscience
While some big names in finance have struggled, the mutual sector is growing in strength despite the challenging economic times. That’s largely because the mutual ethos strikes a chord with people’s conscience today. As British consumers are demanding greater transparency and seek out socially responsible and financially viable organisations, the mutual core values of trust, mutual benefit and ownership ring true. In fact, mutuals present a refreshing alternative to companies putting profit above everything else.
Mutuals are good for the markets
Financial mutuals exert competitive pressure on profit-seeking companies. One lesson from the economic recession is that a stable mutual sector protects the UK economy from large fluctuations experienced in stock markets.
Mutuals are popular too
At a time when so many have lost their faith in banks after seeing some big names collapse, people are deciding they like mutuals. In businesses that are owned by employees, staff satisfaction levels are significantly higher than in the wider economy. But that’s not all. Independent surveys reveal that customers report higher levels of satisfaction with mutuals, proving that staff working for mutuals work harder when their customers (and they themselves) actually own the organisation they work for.
The People’s Views
We went out and about to ask ordinary people what they think about Mutuality and Money. Their feedback gives a fascinating insight - and some real surprises.
The Politicians Views
We went to Westminster to see a selection of MPs and asked them about why it is important to offer consumers choice in financial services.
The Financial Journalist’s View
Jeff Prestridge is the Personal Finance Editor in the Mail on Sunday. Here he shares his thoughts on how mutuals in particular offer great customer service and what it means to be a ‘member’.