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The Friendly Guide to Mutuals

The Friendly Guide to Mutuals explains what makes a mutual like Scottish Friendly different and what being part of one means for you.

What is a mutual?

No shareholders

A mutual is owned exclusively by its customers, known as members, and run for their benefit. So, unlike most financial services organisations, which are run as PLCs (Public Limited Companies), mutuals have no shareholders to pay. Mutuals serve the interests of their members. 

Community ethos

Friendly Societies and mutual insurers have been around for hundreds of years. Their roots are founded in helping communities to support themselves; helping people take better control of their finances, within an organisation run for, and owned by, their members. 

A snapshot of mutuals in the UK

Mutuals continue to play an important part in the UK today, looking after the interest of their members and the communities they're based in. 

You'll find mutuals within all sectors of financial services (including banks, building societies, friendly societies and insureres) as well as the public sector too. 

Just like other financial services providers, UK mutuals need to be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 

Mutuals are big business. Today in the UK, they manage £125 billion in assets and have more than 30 million members.*

What we stand for

At Scottish Friendly, we've been helping people plan for their futures since 1862 and are proud to be one of the largest mutual life offices in the UK. With no shareholders to pay, all the profits we make are distributed to members or reinvested for their benefit. 

The ethos of mutuals is that people from all levels of society can use their services. That's why we believe that saving and investing should be open to everyone.

Members of mutuals can shape our organisation. Our members have their views represented through our delegates, who are elected by our members.

We don't just operate responsibly because we have to: as a mutual, delivering value to our members, investors, partners and community really matters to us.

Like most mutuals, Scottish Friendly has been around for a long time. We have a 150-year history of serving the community and that continues today.

Making investing open to everyone

We offer a range of affordable tax-efficient ways to invest - from Investment ISAs and Junior ISAs to Investment Bonds. 

Want to know more about ISAs?

If you're confused about ISAs and the different types and would like to know more, our guide could help.

If you're saving for your child, a Junior ISA could help you build a long-term investment, that's theirs and they can access it when they turn 18.

If you can't decide between an investment ISA and Cash ISA we've weighed up some important factors to consider for both.

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