A Mutual - run for its members

You’re all that matters to us

Mutuals (which are sometimes called friendly societies), like building societies, have traditionally been founded by groups of people who shared their resources to get rewards.

Nowadays, mutuals offer you the same and very similar services as banks or insurance companies. But the difference is that the profits generated by mutuals don't go to city shareholders but are retained for the benefit of the policyholders. Their members may also benefit from higher interest rates on savings and investments and generally have fewer or lower fees on services offered by the mutual.

Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited

At the heart is Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited (SFAS), the largest mutual life office in Scotland. Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited uses all the tax-efficient advantages of a mutual to deliver cost-effective, low entry investments, assurance, insurance and investment products to people from all walks of life through a highly sophisticated direct marketing and partnership operation. SFAS is also supported by the group’s highly efficient administration capability which provides extremely effective customer service resulting in high levels of customer satisfaction.

At Scottish Friendly, we work hard for you. As a mutual, we don’t have shareholders, so profits are used to benefit our customers.

Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Association of Financial Mutuals

We're mutual, we only work for you

A mutual organisation is owned and run for the benefit of its members and unlike a PLC, has no external shareholders to pay in the form of dividends and does not seek to make large profits or capital growth.

Mutuals exist for their members who benefit from the services they provide. Profits are usually re-invested for the benefits of members, although some may be used for internal finance to ensure the mutual is sustainable, safe and secure.

Experience and scale

Mutuals are not small. Together they manage over £80bn in assets and have more than 19 million UK customers. They typically have over 100 years of experience and heritage in providing for the savings and protection needs of their customers – in our case over 150 years.


The managers of mutuals are only responsible to you, not to shareholders. Research also shows that on average mutual customers are more likely to recommend a mutual organisation than a PLC.

Greater potential value

Research by AFM shows that in 2007 PLC insurers paid out on average 3.1p to shareholders for every £1 invested by their customers. With no shareholders to pay, mutuals can ensure that their profits are only distributed to customers like you, or reinvested to give you better returns, better value and higher levels of service.

Better service

What’s more, according to independent surveys, mutuals have higher levels of customer satisfaction than banks. The staff realise that you own the organisation they work for. So they try harder to please you.

Still, you get the same protection. Like all UK financial organisations we’re authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Scottish Friendly is a member of the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM), a merger of the Association of Mutual Insurers (AMI) and the Association of Friendly Societies (AFS).

To find out more go to www.ownedbyyou.org

Download our PDF guide explaining exactly what a Mutual is. It will also explain what being part of one means for you.