Shaping the Future – The Old Mutual Positive Futures Plan

Shaping the Future – The Old Mutual Positive Futures Plan

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.@OldMutual Positive Futures Plan focuses on financial wellbeing and responsible investment - Shaping the Future
Thursday, August 6, 2015 - 8:30am

CONTENT: Article

Our Objectives: As a business that operates in over 30 countries with more than 17 million customers and £336 billion funds under management*, we have an opportunity to make a real difference. At the beginning of 2014,   Old Mutual set out a strategic objective to become the recognised financial services leader in responsible business – a goal explicitly chosen to deliver on the Group’s vision of becoming our customers’ most trusted partner.

For Old Mutual, the customer is at the heart of everything that we do. We need to understand deeply our customers’ needs at every stage of their life. We must treat them fairly, be accessible and transparent, and deliver excellent service and outcomes to earn their trust and respect.

These are the foundations of outstanding customer relationships. Yet more than this, our success depends on showing – by our actions as well as words - that Old Mutual is committed to creating a positive future for customers. We must help our customers to thrive through enabling them to achieve their lifetime financial goals, while investing their funds in ways that will help secure a positive future for them, their families, their communities and the world at large. In southern Africa, we recognise the unique circumstances in which we operate and will ensure that our focus also delivers against our commitment to address employment equity and societal transformation.

Our commitment is also fuelled by our understanding of the significant risks and opportunities posed by societal inequity, climate change and governance failures across the globe. These are issues that affect the quality of life of our customers, and the sustainable health of our economies. Research shows that companies that are able to respond to these trends and innovate early should reap the benefits of stronger growth prospects, enhanced operating efficiencies, stronger social licence to operate, enhanced employee retention, lower cost of capital and, ultimately, stronger and longer competitive advantage.

We have also stepped up our capabilities for ESG screening across our markets and engaging with leading international initiatives such as the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment and developing power partnerships with institutions such as the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). This work has confirmed our view of the central role that the financial system can play in rewarding long-term thinking in business and supporting efforts to build an economy that shares wealth fairly and operates within planetary boundaries.

Our Progress: The Group’s roots in Africa equip us with a wealth of long-standing experience in addressing responsible business issues as part of our day to day operations. Across the continent, we manage funds that support the development of infrastructure, education, housing, agriculture and renewable energy. In addition, we screen appropriate deals using the Equator principles to ensure social and environmental aspects are considered. Our financial education programmes such as On the Money and Teach a Child to Save have already directly reached around one million people and many more millions indirectly*.

Yet connecting the dots between the investments we make today and the future world we will live in remains one of the more vexing challenges facing the investment industry as a whole. Old Mutual’s objective for leadership in responsible business recognises the breadth and scale of the task – and it also marks a step-change in our ambition. Over the last 12-18 months, we have reviewed our areas of strategic focus, identified bold new goals, and begun the process of embedding our ambitions into business planning and the way we go about our everyday work.

* As at end of June 2015

Our Next Steps: The Old Mutual Positive Futures Plan, announced today, focuses on our two strategic priorities of financial wellbeing and responsible investment, and commits to identify three ambitious goals in each area to be achieved by 2020 and form a core part of our growth strategy over this period and beyond.

We have chosen these priorities because it is here that we believe we can make the biggest difference in the markets in which we operate. Increasing financial wellbeing means that we provide customers with the products that will best serve their most pressing financial needs. It means significantly increasing access to financial services, recognising that in many of our markets more than 50% of the population is still excluded from financial services. It also means determinedly increasing financial education, one of the key drivers of furthering economic participation and prosperity.

In parallel, our focus on responsible investment means that we will use our significant funds under management to invest in solutions that will help address the societal and environmental challenges that most affect the societies in which we operate. We will also encourage and make it easier for all customers to select funds that deliver against these long-term objectives.

Our 2020 Goals - Financial Wellbeing

The Framework for our Plan


  1. Education at scale: Number of people reached by financial education programmes


  1. A product approach that drives societal value: Number of people provided with micro-finance and micro-insurance products which add positive value to society


  1. A commitment to transparency: A public report on the value to customers of our products



Our 2020 Goals - Responsible Investment

The Framework for our Plan


  1. Investment at scale: Proportion of funds under management invested into the green economy and green infrastructure projects


  1. An investment approach that drives societal value: 100% compliance to ESG standards and 100% proxy votes cast where applicable


  1. A commitment to transparency: Percentage of funds offered that we will publicly ESG rate



We will announce our detailed goals in these areas by our preliminary results early in 2016.

A collaborative, evolving and transparent approach - shaping the future for our customers and society

A collaborative approach: We know that we cannot succeed if we act alone. Our role is to invest in ways that add value and create societies that are in a better place than before we invested. To target our funds effectively on the opportunities with the greatest impact will require innovative collaborations involving governments, businesses and other financial services providers. As well as investing our own funds responsibly, we must equip and empower others to invest responsibly through clear information on ESG performance and via increasingly sophisticated approaches to the measurement of value and wider impact on society.

An evolving and transparent plan: Old Mutual’s Positive Futures Plan is a living plan, both ambitious and responsive to change. We know that we have a lot to learn and that by naming and reaching for our goals our ambition will develop further, our products will evolve, and our culture and the skills of our people will adapt. As new evidence emerges we may need to change course, and we will be transparent about our successes and failures.

Shaping the future for our customers and society: Identifying the areas in which we will set goals represents a step forward today, but we recognise the bigger picture. In 2020 and beyond, our success will not only be judged by the delivery of our goals; rather we will be assessed (and will seek to understand ourselves) on the level of our own impact in relation to the scale of the social and environmental challenges in our markets and by the part we can be expected to play through our distinctive role as an investment house, an insurer and a bank.

Supporting statement

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) has played a valuable role in shaping Old Mutual’s Positive Futures Plan, encouraging our focus on financial wellbeing and responsible investment as the key levers of our impact on society. CISL brings a wealth of expertise drawing on its active engagement in a range of industry-leading initiatives across the finance sector.

“CISL is committed to working with leading companies like Old Mutual who have the potential to shape human prosperity long into the future in a way that secures the wellbeing of societies across the world.

The financial services sector is one of the most significant leverage points to 'rewire' the global economy in favour of sustainable business models. I am therefore pleased to see that Old Mutual is developing a range of stretching goals across the most significant areas of its activity. Specifically, the way it invests the funds it manages and building people’s capacity to participate in the economy.

By further committing to transparent reporting on the customer benefits of its products, as well as on the ESG ratings of its funds, the Group sets the tone for an ongoing drive to enhance and articulate its contribution to society.

At CISL, we are looking forward to the next step in Old Mutual’s journey as it sets ambitious goals as part of its 2020 plan.” -Polly Courtice, Director, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Learn more here: 

Contact Information:

Helen Wilson, Head of Responsible Business for Old Mutual Group