Tax-Free saving rewards from Foresters Friendly Society this ISA Season

With the end of the tax year upon us, as an added bonus for investors looking to make the most of their tax-free allowance, Foresters Friendly Society, the mutual financial services provider, is offering M&S Gift Cards worth up to £200 for those who apply online by midnight on Sunday 5th April 2020.

Foresters Friendly Society has a range of offers for consumers who open one of their popular Tax Exempt Savings Plan, Child Tax Exempt Savings Plan, Junior ISA, Stocks & Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA or Investment Bond products by the end of the tax year.

The deals, which are available online via the Foresters website, or by postal application in the case of ISA transfers, offer an M&S Gift Card of up to £200, depending on the value of monthly contribution or lump sum investment made.

For example, savers taking out a Stocks and Shares ISA or Investment Bond with a lump sum investment of at least £5,000 are eligible to receive an M&S Gift Card worth £50, after a three-month investment period. The offer increases to £200 for those investing £20,000 or more.

Applicants will receive the Gift Card once the first 3 months’ contributions have been received or, in the case of lump sum investments, once the specified length of investment time has been reached. Transfers from existing ISA, Lifetime ISA and Junior ISA accounts are also accepted.

Sally Waterfield, Head of Marketing for Foresters Friendly Society commented: “There isn’t long left to take advantage of this tax year’s ISA allowance, but it takes just a few moments to open one of our savings plans, giving you tax-free savings plus an M&S Gift Card for you to enjoy too when you meet the terms of the offer.”

For full details including the terms and conditions of Foresters Friendly Society’s ISA season offers, please visit www.forestersfriendlysociety.co.uk.

Foresters Friendly Society sees positive 2019 with award wins and record premium income levels

Foresters Friendly Society saw a strong year in 2019 for their individual business.

Premium income increased by 35% and policy volumes increased by 18% (both from 2018), with the mutual society’s Stocks and Shares ISA and Investment Bond leading the way. Both plans invest in Foresters’ top performing With-Profits fund, which has delivered consistently competitive returns for clients.

Foresters’ With-Profits Fund was listed the top performing fund in the small and medium categories, with a 5 year return of 5.39% according to a survey from Barnett Waddingham. The survey found the average annualised fund performance over a 5 year period was only 4.48%.

The results cap of a year which saw a number of positive achievements for Foresters Friendly Society. In April 2019 the Society partnered with AXA Investment Managers, which manages €730 billion (£650 billion) globally. The partnership gave the Society a unique competitive advantage over similar providers by granting access to a variety of funds and asset classes improving the marketability of products to new and existing members.

Foresters Friendly Society was also named Best Small Insurer at the Insurance Investment Exchange Awards 2019. Foresters were recognised for their work in delivering real value through their investment portfolios and minimising volatility in an increasingly complex environment.  

Rachel Hardy, Chief Executive of Foresters Friendly Society commented It’s safe to say we had a successful year in 2019 at Foresters Friendly Society. We exist to not only provide the benefits of being a member of our Society, such as access to discretionary grants and a sense of community, but to provide highly performing protection and savings products. The individual business results and award win speak to how hard we work to do this”.   

Foresters Friendly Society appoints new CEO

Foresters Friendly Society, the mutual financial services provider, has appointed Rachel Hardy as Chief Executive Officer.

Rachel has had a long association with Foresters Friendly Society stretching back to 2006 when she was part of the external audit team performing the Society’s annual financial audit. Rachel, impressed by the Society’s culture and member focus, joined as Head of Finance in January 2015. After a brief interlude back in consulting, she re-joined as Finance Director in September 2017 and was elected to the Board as an Executive Director in June 2018.

She has 20 years’ experience in commercial businesses and large accountancy practices enabling her to approach issues from both a strategic and regulatory perspective.

In her new position as Chief Executive Officer for Foresters Friendly Society, Hardy will continue the growth and strategic development of the Society following the delivery of a 35% increase in individual premium income in 2019, as well as heading up the management team and maintaining close working relationships with key stakeholders including the Society’s members, staff and intermediaries.

Rachel Hardy, Chief Executive Officer, said: “I am thrilled to assume this leadership position and welcome the opportunity to enhance Foresters Friendly Society’s position within the mutual financial services sector. My personal objective will be to continue and enhance our member-focused culture and maintain the Society’s healthy financial, administrative and community wellbeing at the same time as delivering on our strategic objectives.  This really is an exciting chapter for Foresters Friendly Society.”

Welcome to the ROARING (20)20’s: Why the start of a new decade is a great time to think about your financial goals

Saving goals 2020

With January ringing in not only the start of a new year but a brand new decade, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your long term ambitions and plans for the future.

Whether you’re planning a wedding, looking to save for your first home or thinking about your family’s future, we’ve taken a look at some of the best ways to save for life’s milestones.

Are you planning for…?

Wedding bells?

For anyone planning for the wedding of the decade, getting your finances sorted as early as possible can help make sure you can afford the wedding (and honeymoon) of your dreams.

What’s more, with the average wedding in 2019 costing £31,974 (1), being savvy about your wedding finances early in the planning process will allow you to focus on starting your new life together rather than how to pay down your debt. 

Taking out a Stocks & Shares ISA allows you to save up to £20,000 per tax year for the big day, with Foresters Friendly Society you can save through regular payments of £50 per month, or make a £500 lump sum payment to open an account, and then top up your ISA with lump sum payments of at least £250 – so you have the choice to save as little or as much and as often as you want.

Keys to your dream home?  

With the Help to Buy ISA having ended in 2019, the Lifetime ISA is now the best way you can make the most of your savings if you’re looking to buy your first home in over a year’s time. The Government gives savers a 25% bonus on the total amount you pay in, meaning that if you were to pay in the current £4,000 maximum per year you will receive a tax-free bonus of £1,000 per year meaning the total amount saved is actually £5,000.

The pitter patter of tiny feet?   

A Lifetime ISA also gives you the flexibility to contribute regular amounts.  With the Foresters Friendly Society Lifetime ISA, a monthly direct debit of at least £100 per month (£50 per month if you are an existing member or child/grandchild of a member) can be set up, or you can make a lump sum payment of £500 to open an account, then you can also make lump sum top ups of at least £250 as and when you choose, so long as your contributions don’t exceed the current limit of £4,000 per tax year.

Making sure that you consider your offspring financially is crucial from the day you bring them home as a newborn to the day they fly the nest.

A Junior ISA is one of the most tax-efficient ways to build a nest egg for your kids and once opened by a parent or guardian, friends and family can pay in too! For under 18s, you can pay in up to £4,368 in the 2019-2020 tax year, up from £4,260 in 2018-2019. There is also no personal income or capital gains tax to pay on any growth that their Junior ISA achieves. It takes as little as £10 per month to open a Foresters Friendly Society Junior ISA, or you can make a single lump sum payment of £500 to begin.  Whichever option you choose, you can then top up your child’s savings with lump sums of at least £250 to help support them when they turn 18.

Find out more about the full range of savings & investments products offered by Foresters Friendly Society

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

You should also be aware that in some investment conditions and depending on the savings product you have chosen, you or your child may get back less than you have paid in.


[1] https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/organising-and-planning/national-wedding-survey-2019/

Foresters Friendly Society launch new website for savers

Foresters Friendly Society Transforms User Experience with New Interactive Website 

  • A range of savings calculators & educational content take centre stage on new, user-friendly site
  • Launch reinforces Foresters’ commitment to put customers at the heart of its proposition after scoring 96% customer satisfaction in its most recent survey of member experience

Foresters Friendly Society, a mutual society, is transforming members’ user experience with the launch of a new interactive website. Featuring a range of easy to use savings calculators plus a content hub packed with useful tips and articles, the site aims to support users as they navigate key stages in their savings journey. 

Among the tools featured on the new site is the Product Selector Tool, which helps users choose the savings plan best suited to their savings goals or ambition – be it saving towards a deposit for a first home or putting aside money to fund higher education costs.  Savings Calculators are also available, where visitors can project the potential return on their investment depending on the size and timing of the initial contribution.

Launching the new user-friendly site reinforces Foresters’ commitment to put its members at the heart of its proposition. The Society achieves consistently high customer satisfaction scores in independent surveys of member experience, and recorded a 96% overall satisfaction score in its most recent survey.

In addition, a large majority of members (81%) who made a claim with Foresters in 2018 also stressed just how much Foresters cares for its clients. This was another welcome endorsement for the mutual society which offers members an active say in how the organisation and its individual branches are run. 84% of members took out a plan with Foresters due to the fact it is a mutual society and therefore offers an alternative financial solution.

As the Society has no external shareholders, it uses the revenues generated for the benefit of the membership. This is done by distributing investment returns to members in the form of policyholder bonuses. In 2018, £2.2million was paid out in the form of final bonuses to Foresters’ policyholders and £1.1million in annual bonuses added to policyholders’ guaranteed benefits. The mutual also paid out over £1.1million to its members in the form of discretionary grants and charitable donations.

Foresters has also been recognised for the quality and performance of its offer in 2019. The mutual provider won ‘Best Small Insurer’, at the Insurance Investment Exchange Awards 2019 in recognition of its work delivering real value through its investment portfolios.

Foresters’ With-Profits Fund is also currently listed as the top performing fund in the small and medium categories with a 5 year return of 5.39% according to Barnett Waddingham. Their annual With-Profits survey found the average annualised fund performance over a five-year period was 4.48% – a highly positive performance for Foresters.  

Sally Waterfield, Head of Marketing for Foresters Friendly Society commented: We are thrilled to see our new website go live.  As a mutual society, we are always looking for ways to improve the service we offer current and prospective members and we hope our members enjoy using our new range of tools and calculators. Our 96% customer satisfaction result highlights that we are a mutual society our members can trust and rely on. While the most recent survey has revealed fantastic results across the board; there’s always room for improvement so we won’t be resting on our laurels and will continue to strengthen our proposition over the coming year further!” 

Foresters Friendly Society see 36% increase in premium income

As at the end of October 2019, Foresters Friendly Society has increased premium income on its savings and investment plans year-on-year, with a 44% increase in single premium investments and an 8% rise in annual premium investments compared with figures for the same period in 2018. The Society has also achieved an 18% overall increase in policy sales.

Investments into the Foresters with profits Investment Bond and Stocks & Shares ISA have increased significantly as have sales of its Post Office Insurance Society (POIS) unit linked plans. Earlier in the year, Foresters partnered with AXA Investment Managers which has allowed the addition of several new asset 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.

Foresters’ Order Insurance with profits Fund (OIF) was commended for performing well above average throughout a five-year investment period, ranking 5th best-performing fund overall in the Barnett Waddingham annual with profits fund survey. The Foresters fund was also best in class in its medium-sized fund category – funds containing £50-£200m.

Erik Vynckier, Interim Chief Executive of Foresters Friendly Society commented “Our results for 2019 show a continued year-on-year increase in uptake of our range of investment and savings plans – contributing to what has overall been an excellent year for us so far. One benefit of taking out a savings plan with Foresters or POIS is that membership of the Society comes at no additional cost, meaning that all our members can enjoy the benefits this brings, such as access to our discretionary grants and community events.”

Foresters Friendly Society’s with-profits fund performs well above average, despite tough year for markets

Foresters’ with-profits fund is listed the top performing fund in the small and medium categories with a 5 year return of 5.39 per cent. 

The sixth with-profits survey by Barnett Waddingham, the UK’s leading independent provider of actuarial, administration and consultancy services, found the average annualised fund performance over a five-year period was only 4.48 per cent.

The Barnett Waddingham research covered over £50bn of assets across 41 funds and 23 insurers for the period ending December 31, 2018.

Foresters’ Order Insurance Fund (OIF) is performing well above average throughout a five-year investment period and ranks 5th best-performing fund overall. The fund is also best in class in its medium-sized fund category – funds containing £50-£200m. 

Erik Vynckier, interim CEO of Foresters Friendly Society commented “it’s great to see Foresters’ with-profits fund stand up in what have been extremely difficult conditions this year for returns. At times like this when the market is down, our with-profits policyholders have been protected from the vagaries of a volatile market. An investment return of over 5% over 5 years is an incredibly positive performance, one which we hope to see continue”.

Foresters Friendly Society was named Best Small Insurer at the Insurance Investment Exchange Awards 2019. Foresters were recognised for their work in delivering real value through their investment portfolios and minimising volatility in an increasingly complex environment.  

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 us a unique competitive advantage over similar providers to improve the marketability of our products to new members as well as the returns that can be achieved for our existing members.

Surge in family members saving for children’s education

  • Nearly four in ten (39%) adults are saving money to help the children in their lives cover the cost of higher education
  • More than a third (31%) prioritise saving for their first car & driving lessons
  • 28% are saving to help with deposits on first homes

With Which? revealing more than 8 in 10 families are financially supporting their children while at university [1], Foresters Friendly Society has discovered just how far financial preparations are having to stretch to cover the soaring cost of higher education today.

Indeed, parents are increasingly leaning on the support of their wider family members to shoulder costs, with 39% of relatives helping the children in their lives reach university [2].

What’s more, with new figures from UCAS, the official university admissions body, reporting nearly four in ten (39.5%) of all 18-year olds in England have applied this year [3], up from 38.1% at the same point last year, many families are helping financially to make sure students can make the most of their experience and focus on their studies without significant debt or financial concerns.

And it’s not just education that families are helping with. Learning to drive costs £355 more today than it did 10 years ago [4], with almost a third of relatives (31%) having to fund first cars and lessons.

An additional 28% are saving to be able to help children with the deposit on their first home. In fact, it’s thought it will take most 18-to-24-year-olds a shocking 22 years to save just a 10% deposit to buy a home in Britain [5].

For relatives, saving early to help with major life events has become both a short term and long-term priority.

Erik Vynckier, interim Chief Executive for Foresters Friendly Society, commented: “With the cost of living continuing to rise, it’s clear financial preparation is being shared more readily among relatives, with more adults helping to ensure the children in their lives achieve major life events with minimal stress or difficulty.

If making substantial financial contributions isn’t possible, this approach can be boosted by taking advantage of the range of saving vehicles on offer, ensuring any money saved is working its hardest.

Saving small amounts on a regular basis can quickly become a healthy nest egg.

Opening a savings plan, such as a tax-free Junior ISA, when children are young is a great way to encourage children to engage with money and allow them to see how their savings pot can grow over time with the goal of supporting their future needs”.


[1] www.independent.co.uk – Parents take on second jobs and sacrifice holidays to cover children’s university costs, report suggests

[2] www.independent.co.uk – Parents take on second jobs and sacrifice holidays to cover children’s university costs, report suggests

[3] www.ucas.com – Almost four in ten young people in England apply to university – a new record

[4] www.express.co.uk – Learning to drive costs £355 more today than it did a decade ago

[5] www.telegraph.co.uk – Telegraph’s ultimate guide to buying first home

Methodology

2,000 UK adults were surveyed by Atomik research company, between April to May 2018. 

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.”