Putting our members at the heart of everything we do
Shepherds Friendly Society was founded in 1826 by a group of people who shared the same interest – providing financial security to each member of the society when they lost their regular income due to sickness or injury. Their money was pooled together and when a member needed it, they were able to access the fund and keep a regular income until they returned to work. While we have adapted and modernised significantly since then, the same underlying premise behind the company remains in place. This is mutuality.
A mutual is a company that is owned by those who have the biggest interest in the company, in our case our members who have invested their own money with us. In being mutual we don’t have external shareholders to pay dividends to or to make key decisions, meaning that more of the profit that we make goes straight back to our members as bonuses on their investments.
This means that, unlike a bank or a building society, not only do you have a say in how the society is run, but you also get potentially greater returns on your investments.
We don’t have any external investors or anyone with a financial interest in the company apart from our members. We make a profit by taking the money our members save with us and investing it responsibly in assets that make a return on the amount invested.
The better the investments perform the more profit we make and the more money we can return to our members in the form of annual bonuses. Because we don’t have external investment we don’t have anyone else to pay any of the profit we make to, and this means you could potentially make more from the money you invest than with a company that is not a mutual.
As a financial mutual society, we are a member of the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM). The AFM is the trade body that represents mutual insurers in the UK. You can use the AFM website to find out more about the benefits of mutuality, and to see the importance of mutuals to the wider economy in the UK.