A strategic vision for the UK financial mutuals sector

20 March 2015


The financial mutuals sector makes a vital contribution to the UK financial services industry. Research has shown that corporate diversity, a key factor in the health of the financial services industry, has declined. This is a matter for concern, particularly when financial services must respond to calls for a new culture, a revived concern for the customer and the delivery of fairly priced services which meet everyday needs. To promote a sustainable and diverse sector of financial and banking mutuals, it is crucial to examine key factors for its success, which might include a more equitable operating environment, better ways of working and to encourage the emergence of new financial mutuals.

It is in this context that The Building Societies Association (BSA), the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM), and the Centre for Mutual and Employee-owned Business here at Kellogg College, have announced a new research partnership to investigate the strategic application of the values and principles of mutuality, and the contribution these can make to fostering the sector’s growth. The project will examine potential strategic drivers, such as leadership, culture and inter-organisational collaboration. The study will also examine the contribution that mutuality can make to create a compelling vision for the broader financial services sector, based upon improving people’s lives.

The aim of this project is to find ways to help financial mutuals gain greater market share and to contribute to the creation of a renewed vision for the financial services sector, grounded in restored trust and collaboration for mutual benefit.

The research will be managed by Ruth Yeoman, Research Fellow at Kellogg College. The output will be a set of practical recommendations to the sector which will also contribute to policy making. It is envisaged that the research will begin with an initial six-month project leading to a longer term research programme with Oxford and other academic partners.

Jonathan Michie, our President and Director of the Centre for Mutual and Employee-owned Business said: “The UK economy has long suffered from a lack of corporate diversity. This was exacerbated by demutualisation. We have paid the price for being dominated by ‘too big to fail’ PLC banks. It is important – and urgent – to promote a more corporately diverse financial services sector, and for this we need a renaissance of mutuality.”

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