Analysis of the strategic landscape for mutual insurers and friendly societies

July, 2021

AFM is delighted to be working in partnership with Whitecap Consulting and key industry partners to conduct an analysis of the strategic landscape for financial mutual organisations in the UK, which will culminate in a report later this year, with the findings to be presented at the AFM annual conference in October.

The project is being conducted with support from industry sponsors including: Altus ConsultingCirencester Friendly Society, Fidelity InternationalHolloway FriendlyMillimanOddfellows (which includes Unity Mutual), PG MutualRussell Investments, and Royal London Asset Management.

The UK’s Financial Services landscape is a complex and dynamic marketplace, and this project seeks to analyse and understand the degree to which external market forces will materially impact organisations in the sector over the next 2-3 years. Specifically, the analysis focuses on how smaller mutual insurers, friendly societies and other financial mutuals can deliver relevance and differentiation, develop competitive and sustainable strategies, and achieve digital acceleration and technology enhancements to meet customer needs.

As part of the project, an online survey is being conducted to gather views from individuals and organisations that are active in the mutual financial sector or have an interest in it:


The outcomes of the project will help the AFM and its members to develop business strategies to respond to market forces, as well as supporting the AFM develop collective initiatives to support members.

Martin Shaw, CEO at the Association of Financial Mutuals:

Mutuals are customer-owned businesses and have made a virtue for decades of better understanding the needs of their customers. Whilst the financial services marketplace was already evolving prior to Covid, we’re starting to see significant shifts in customer needs and expectations now, and it is vital that our sector embraces those and explores how best to deliver outstanding products and services for decades to come. I’m delighted to be working with Whitecap, to help inform our sector on where we go to next.

Richard Coates, Managing Director of Whitecap Consulting:

The AFM represents a fascinating and diverse range of mutual organisations and friendly societies demonstrating a broad range of scale, products, distribution strategies and business models. We are delighted to be working with Martin and AFM members and supporters, analysing this sector and helping to develop practical commercial strategies.” 

Jim Leggate, Head of UK Institutional and Middle East, Russell Investments:

“We are delighted to support this initiative and contribute to the continued growth of a very important sector of the UK insurance industry. Since joining the AFM, we have been hugely impressed by the collaborative nature of the mutual sector as it seeks to meet the needs of its customers. We hope that members will find this research to be useful and insightful, and look forward to working alongside and supporting the sector for many years to come.”

The AFM is the trade body representing 43 mutual and not-for-profit insurers, friendly societies and other financial mutuals across the UK. Between them, mutual and not-for-profit insurers manage the savings, pensions, protection and healthcare needs of over 30 million people in the UK and Ireland, with annual premium income of £19.6 billion, and nearly 30,000 employees.

Whitecap has worked with numerous mutual and membership-based organisations over recent years, supporting the analysis, development and implementation of commercial strategies. In addition, Whitecap has completed a similar analysis of the Building Society sector and has also published market sector reports on topics including FinTech, Legal Tech, and Innovation ecosystems.

If you would like to take part in the research, please complete the online survey. If you are interested in supporting as a sponsorship partner, please contact [email protected]

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