Coronavirus (COVID-19): How we’re managing our members’ investments

9th April 2020

As the situation surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) progresses, we are monitoring the news and updates daily, in order to help us offer advice and assistance our members. As we adjust to the safety measures and social distancing, it’s a concerning and uncertain time for all of us. As a mutual, we’re here to support and assist you, and our aim remains the same: to protect your investments.

The spread of COVID-19 and its global impact has resulted in an unpredictable economic climate. During a time where many may be concerned about their finances, it’s understandable that, as one of our valued members, you may have questions regarding your investment with us.

Below, you’ll find some useful information that may answer any questions that you have about your investments with us. In the meantime, we would like to assure you that we will continue doing everything we can to support our members throughout these unprecedented times.

We manage your money with care
Our investment plans are invested in a fund that is actively managed by Royal London Asset Management. This fund holds a diverse range of assets, including UK and overseas equities, commodities, bonds and cash products. The fund aims to provide consistent returns for our members, while managing the effects of market volatility and mitigating risk through diversified multi-asset strategies.

We also operate an investment strategy known as ‘smoothing’ which provides further protection for your investment in relation to downside risk. With smoothing, we keep back some of the returns the With-Profits Fund earns in good investment years and use them to help pay bonuses in poor investment years. Losses made in poor investment years may also reduce returns in good investment years.

Is my money safe?
Our investment plans are underpinned by a longer-term approach to saving. This gives your money more chance to grow, but also to recover from any periods when market conditions aren’t as favourable. As a result, over time, the effects of any short-term market volatility may be lessened through smoothing and potential long-term growth.

The investment strategy we use to manage your money has enabled us to pay members a bonus for 17 consecutive years, including during and after the financial crisis of 2008. Through smoothing and active fund management, we aim to continue to offer members consistent returns on their investment over the long-term. Plus, we have no external shareholders to pay, which means that more of our profits can go back to members.

Don’t forget that, when you save with us, your money is protected by the Financial Service Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Protecting all of our members
At times when market performance is particularly volatile, we may have to implement measures to protect all of our members. Such steps include applying a Market Value Reduction (MVR).

An MVR aims to protect plan holders who have money in our fund, ensuring that they are not disadvantaged during periods of volatility. We would only apply an MVR to money that is withdrawn from the fund when market performance is poor. However, this could mean that, if you withdraw money during periods of challenging market conditions, you could receive less than you expected.

As you may be aware, due to the situation surrounding COVID-19, financial markets are volatile at the moment. As a result, we are currently applying an MVR to any withdrawals.

Please be assured that any money that remains invested in your plan will not be subject to an MVR. For more information on what an MVR is and why it is applied, please see this article.

Any other questions?
If you have any more questions then please get in touch with our Member Services team at [email protected] or on 0800 526 249.

Please note: In light of the situation surrounding COVID-19, we are currently experiencing a high volume of phone calls. If you contact us via telephone, you may need to wait longer than usual to speak to our Member Services Team. So that we can prioritise vulnerable members, we kindly request that you only contact us via phone if it’s urgent. For all other enquiries, please send an email to the above address and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Last updated 09/04/2020