Ahead of the upcoming general election, AFM outlines its recommendations to the next government
Recently, the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) wrote to all the main political parties to suggest policy options they might incorporate into their manifestos ahead of next month's general election.
Our members include friendly societies, mutual insurers and indemnifiers, and not-for-profit healthcare providers. These organisations were first established before the welfare state to enable people of limited means to take responsibility for their own financial situation and to provide for an uncertain future. Since the financial crisis, mutuals have doubled market share and are once again providing a core role in helping people become more financially self-reliant.
In the UK, one in three of us is already a member of a mutual organisation and individuals are almost three times more likely to be a member-owner of a mutual than a shareholder in a company. Mutuals are recognised as being trustworthy and working in the best interests of their customers, so maintaining a strong financial mutual sector will do more to democratise our economy by sharing prosperity and encouraging self-reliance.
We are calling on the next government to commit to actively supporting financial mutuals
Whatever the future holds for the UK, the challenges for the next government will include ensuring communities feel safe and fairly treated, that the economy prospers, that public services and particularly the NHS meet increasing demands and that individuals can benefit from a sense of purpose and financial self-reliance.
The financial mutual sector stands ready to support the government in meeting these challenges, while protecting consumers, as it has done for over 100 years.
We are calling on the next Government to commit to actively supporting financial mutuals by:
- Recognising the value to consumers of mutuals, by requiring legislators and government departments to ensure rules are fit for purpose. We want to see the UK regulators report every year on what actions they have taken to enhance corporate diversity. We are also calling for a modernisation of legislation for the sector to enable it to better serve the needs of its 30 million policyholders.
- Removing barriers to the creation of new mutuals, and better enable existing mutuals to raise capital from new sources. Amongst our suggestions is that with three million UK muslims who are poorly served by insurance, the treasury could develop new forms of Takaful (Islamic Insurance), offering products via existing friendly societies.
- Embracing new opportunities for mutual insurers to support government policy in healthcare, and in delivering a fairer and more resilient society. The sector is keen to work with government to create a stronger savings culture, to support our great NHS and to improve the financial resilience of those who are less wealthy.
Read more about our manifesto, and how the political parties have responded to our policy proposals, here.
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