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Mutuality is a bonus for Wesleyan members in 2020

Wesleyan, the specialist financial mutual for doctors, dentists and teachers has announced its results for the year ended 31 December 2020.

2020 Summary

The Covid-19 pandemic led to a difficult trading environment for most of 2020 which saw a reduction in new business sales and profitability for the Society.

Despite the headwinds, the Group was still able to retain its capital strength and demonstrate its commitment to mutuality through a range of benefits to members. Furthermore, significant progress was made against Wesleyan's long-term strategic plans that further secure its long-term sustainability and future benefits for both members and customers.

Business Performance

  • The Society made an operating loss  of -£15.8m (2019: -£8.1m) reflecting reductions in new business volumes and increases in provisions. These were partially offset by a managed reduction in expenses.
  • The Group retained its capital strength with £565m (2019: 598m) in the Group Fund for Future Appropriations, representing the excess of assets over liabilities and therefore the financial strength of the organisation. Solvency Ratio, another measure of financial strength, was 314% (2019: 387%).
  • The Society's financial strength meant it was in a position to distribute funds to its members in the form of a mutual bonus (£29.7m) and maintain its long-term focus on customer outcomes.
  • A substantial investment in business infrastructure (£28m) was made in 2020 reflecting Wesleyan's commitment to building a stronger, more sustainable business to benefit members and customers.
  • Underperformance of UK equities relative to global stock markets led to a reduction in assets under management from £8bn to £7.9bn and a -1.4% return for the Society's With Profits Fund. The long-term performance of this fund remains strong (+108% return over ten years ).
  • Wesleyan subsidiaries Practice Plan and DPAS, the dental membership arms of the business delivered a £5.6m operating profit despite halving fees for two months to support dental customers impacted by practice closures in the first lockdown.
  • Wesleyan Bank grew the loans and advances on its balance sheet by 38% while also supporting customers impacted financially by the pandemic with loan forbearance arrangements.
  • Achieved an industry leading +59 Net Promoter Score which shows how likely customers are to recommend an organisation (2019: +47).

Mutuality with Edge

Wesleyan remains committed to its mutual status and was able to deliver benefits to members and communities in 2020 despite the challenging operating environment.

Mutuality Highlights

  • £29.7m (2019: £28.0m) distributed to members to boost investment returns
  • £2.1m (2019: £1.4m) financial contribution made to provide member discounts on selected insurance policies
  • £1m (2019: £1m) committed to supporting good causes through the Wesleyan Foundation, with a sustained focus on charities supporting the health and wellbeing of the professions Wesleyan serves
  • 96% (2019: 97%) of personal income protection claims paid compared to an industry average of 87%

Mario Mazzocchi, Wesleyan Group Chief Executive said: "2020 was a difficult year for people and businesses across the world. At the onset of the pandemic, we made and executed robust plans that ensured we could serve our customers, protect our colleagues and mitigate some of the financial impacts of Covid-19 through robust capital management and cost control.

"We did so while investing in the future of the organisation and our mutuality, evolving our strategy and putting in place a detailed transformation plan which clearly sets out what we must achieve in the coming years.

"Improvements in our infrastructure, sustainability framework and culture will help us emerge as a stronger, more inclusive business as the crisis subsides.

"Despite the headwinds experienced in 2020, our financial strength and long-term approach to decision making has given us the confidence to continue investing in our business to improve outcomes for members and customers in the years to come and we have a clear plan in place for how to do so."

Chair Nathan Moss added: "A key priority in 2020 was supporting our customers - many of whom were on the frontline dealing with the impact of the pandemic - and our people as they adapted to new ways of working.

"We put in place an extensive package of support for customers from payment holidays to launching a free wellbeing hub, providing help and guidance to members including access to a clinical specialist if required.

"We were also pleased to commit to donations of around £1m through the Wesleyan Foundation, including £100,000 to numerous charities and organisations providing mental health support to the professions we serve.
"We worked hard to ensure colleagues were supported through the pandemic and we were pleased to see an increase in our employee engagement figures over the year (8.0 compared to 7.8 out of 10 in 2019).

"We remain firmly committed to our mutual status and believe it distinguishes us from many other financial services companies. We are working hard to build a stronger business to pass onto the next generation of members and employees, while ensuring current members share in the success we have today."

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'WESLEYAN’ is a trading name of the Wesleyan Group of companies.

Wesleyan Assurance Society and Wesleyan Bank Ltd are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd, Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers Ltd, Practice Plan Ltd and DPAS Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Advice about investments, insurance and mortgages is provided by Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

Click for more information about the Wesleyan group of companies.

© 2021 Wesleyan Assurance Society