What is a mutual?

Mutual organisations have been around for centuries, but many people are unsure what it really means.

In this article we’ll explore what a mutual is and what it means to us.

Owned by you

The core principle of mutual organisations is that they are owned by its customers, policy holders, employees or members.

Our customers are our members. All our efforts are to grow and protect value for members, rather than generating profit for an owner or shareholders.

Mutual organisations take several forms, including friendly societies (like us), building societies, co-operatives, asset managers, credit unions and housing associations.

How is a mutual business run?

Because mutual are owned by their customers, members, policyholders or employees, it means that they have a say on how mutual organisations are run.

Each year mutuals hold Annual General Meetings where members are encouraged to give feedback through surveys, focus groups or events and help shape the future of the organisation.

Did you know that the department store John Lewis is a mutual organisation? It’s owned by its employees. That means each employee gets a share of its annual profits and a say in how it is run.

Trust

Mutual organisations are known for being personal, trustworthy and approachable. After all, they’ve always supported communities and looked after customers’ interests.

They care about their customers and want to make a positive difference to their lives and the lives of those around them.

They’re not accountable to shareholders. They are free to focus on member’s needs.

Giving something back

Mutuals are not all about products and the bottom line. Helping others to help themselves is embedded in their ethos, which is why friendly societies are recognised for providing a wider responsibility to customers and their communities.

We have supported local and national charities, individuals in need and community projects across the country and locally.

What is a mutual fund?

Mutual organisations shouldn’t be confused with mutual funds. Mutual funds are investment funds that pool several investors’ money together to invest in a mixture of stocks, bonds and other assets. Mutual funds are also companies.

Mutual organisations shouldn’t be confused with mutual funds. Mutual funds are investment funds that pool several investors’ money together to invest in a mixture of stocks, bonds and other assets. Mutual funds are also companies.

While OneFamily is a mutual organisation, our investment funds are not companies, so they are not technically mutual funds. Find out more about our investment funds.