Three years ago I joined Scottish Friendly and, to be entirely honest, I wasn’t very familiar with mutual organisations and how they operated. Getting stuck into my role, I quickly came to realise how much the organisation I had become a part of, valued mutuality and all of the attributes that come along with it. I began to truly understand and appreciate Scottish Friendly’s values and objectives, and because of this I am proud to be writing about our latest achievement, being announced the winner of ‘Best UK Mutual Insurer’ by Capital Finance International for the fifth consecutive year.
A mutual company is defined as “a type of company wherein the ownership is held by the depositors, customers, or policyholders of an institution.”
Mutual companies distribute income amongst its members and are not owned by shareholders. They exist for the strategic benefit of its sole members and allow for a more vested focus on the needs of its customers and members as opposed to a traditional business structure where the emphasis is on acting in the best interest of shareholders.
With a 160-year history as a mutual, Scottish Friendly’s core outlook will always remain supporting our customers, members, and the wider community, and this presented the opportunity for us to grow in an unpredictable financial market and plan for the long term. We are one of the UK industry leaders in spreading the importance of investing for everyone and we are dedicated to helping individuals and their families achieve financial wellbeing through friendly products and customer care.
The Capital Finance International award identifies individuals and organisations that truly add value by identifying best practice which demonstrates the many ways in which the economies of the world are converging. The judging panel on the programme expressed recognition for our resilience, the investment commitments we have made within the business and our focused approach in helping to improve financial wellbeing for UK households.
Our consistent approach to investments and a time-tested 3-part growth strategy has massively contributed to our ability to win this award for the fifth consecutive year and we are proud to operate in a way which continues to add value not only to our members, but also to our colleagues.
As an employee of Scottish Friendly I recognise the measures which have been put in place to prioritise colleague wellbeing. This includes collaborative working groups, a new employee assistance programme and even the introduction of yoga classes and one-to-one nutritionist sessions. Everyone is consistently engaged with life at Scottish Friendly, particularly due to the content shared across social media channels, which sparks a strong community amongst colleagues and customers and even potential colleagues who may wish to join us in the future.
There is a core belief throughout the organisation that exceptional customer care starts with a focus on colleague wellbeing and the measures which have been taken aim to ensure we all feel supported and engaged, leaving us in the best possible position to look after our members. This is mirrored through another solid set of results against a backdrop of market volatility and continued uncertainty, a solvency ratio which remains strong and higher than regulatory requirements and other prestigious industry awards that we are proud to have been presented with. For example, last year we also won ‘Best Junior ISA Provider’ at the Investment Life & Pensions Moneyfacts awards for the fourth consecutive year and ‘Best Mutual Insurer UK 2022’ at the International Business Magazine awards, among many others.
As a younger employee at an earlier stage in my career compared to many of my peers, being able to learn and develop in a mutual organisation through a unique lens and has shown me how the industry can add value and create financial wellbeing for UK households through friendly products and customer care.
Congratulations to all of my colleagues who have contributed towards this success.