Foresters Friendly Society announced winner of ‘Best Small Insurer’ at the Insurance Investment Exchange Awards 2019

Foresters Friendly Society has been named Best Small Insurer at the Insurance Investment Exchange awards. Foresters were recognised for their work in delivering real value through their investment portfolios and minimising volatility in an increasingly complex environment. Embracing innovative strategies and internal talent has helped Foresters to be recognised for this award.

Foresters Friendly Society is a mutual insurer providing a range of financial savings, investment and insurance products, as well as a range of member benefits, including discretionary educational grants and healthcare support. It has £270 million of assets under management.

During 2018, Foresters’ investment strategy and investment team were overhauled, with the aim of enhancing investment performance, diversifying investment holdings, reducing volatility and efficiently managing solvency capital requirements.

In June 2019, Foresters began a partnership with Axa Investment Managers (Axa IM) which manages €730 billion (£650 billion) globally.  This partnership has allowed the addition of several new assets classes in the alternatives space.  This has helped to give Foresters a unique competitive advantage over similar providers to improve the marketability of its products to new members as well as the returns that can be achieved for existing members. 

To support its enhanced investment strategy further, Foresters Friendly Society has also invested in its internal resourcing and created an in-house investment team to deliver insightful management information and provide more oversight to its external investment managers.  

In addition to this, in the Barnett Waddingham 2017 annual with profits survey undertaken on 52 funds, the Foresters Order Insurance with profits fund:

  • Rated the best performing fund in the small fund category.
  • Rated in the top quartile across all fund sizes.  
  • Provided higher returns over the 5 year period than the average return from the largest with profits funds.

(Source: The Barnett Waddingham survey, December 2017.)

Rachel Hardy, Finance Director at Foresters Friendly Society, comments “As a small insurer, we face the same challenges as larger organisations but with fewer resources so it is a real testament to the team that we have been recognised for the hard work and dedication on our investment strategy over in the last 18 months.

Working in partnership with Axa IM, a provider with solid credentials in the insurance sector, a robust performance track record and global capabilities across the wider investment universe, this places Foresters in a unique positioning against our peer group which will benefit our members and future members.”

AXA Investment Managers Selected by Foresters Friendly Society to Manage Multi-Asset Mandate

Foresters Friendly Society (Foresters), the mutual insurance provider protecting families since 1834, has appointed AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) to manage a £175 million multi-asset mandate on behalf of its members, with capacity for the mandate to grow to £300m in the medium-term. 

The mandate will be lead by portfolio manager Andrew Etherington, and managed across non-profit, with-profits and unit-linked funds. 80% of the mandate will be invested in traditional assets, allowing for a 20% allocation to AXA IM’s strong alternative investment offering, in order to provide Foresters with additional diversification and potential return for its policyholders.

Furthermore the mandate is designed to allow for Foresters’ growth plans and enhancement of ESG integration, an area in which AXA IM is highly skilled, with two decades of RI experience. Last year AXA IM announced integration of ESG analysis across all of its investment platforms.

ESG investment has increased significantly over the past few years, with Foresters taking a keen interest in the heightened social conscience of the investment community.  The appointment of AXA IM broadens the opportunities to invest in alternative asset classes, enhancing investment returns whilst keeping risk profiles within appetite, but also allows Foresters to explore and improve their ESG offering to support the increasing demands of investors.

In June 2019, Foresters Friendly Society won Best Small Insurer at the Insurance Investment Exchange awards. Foresters were recognised for delivering real value via their investment portfolios and minimising volatility in an increasingly complex environment.

Rachel Hardy, Finance Director at Foresters Friendly Society, commented: “We are pleased to have appointed AXA IM to manage our multi-asset mandate on behalf of our members. This appointment facilitates our expansion into ESG, which is an area of great importance across the investment industry as well as to our members whose interests are at the forefront of our services.”

John Stainsby, Head of UK Institutional Client Group, said: “Being appointed by a historically important mutual such as Foresters Friendly Society is a great endorsement of our third party offering, and best in class insurance asset management capabilities. Today is an exciting time for UK mutuals as they look to innovate and grow their member base. We believe that AXA IM are well placed to support in this development. We look forward to working closely with the Foresters team, and growing the relationship further.”