I am not starry-eyed about mutuals nor am I blind to the many shortcomings, but I hope the LV vote is a wake-up call, says RUTH SUNDERLAND

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  • Mutual building societies, insurance companies and cooperatives were a powerful force
  • They were an effective form of leveling up to use today’s language.
  • He enabled the common people to start a slow climb by crushing poverty

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Britain’s mutual production societies, insurance companies and cooperatives were once a powerful force. A product of the Reformation fervor of the Victorian era, they were largely an engine for social mobility – an early and effective form of leveling up to use today’s colloquialism.

Through self-help, he enabled common people to buy their own house and start a slow climb from poverty to middle class.


Mutual insurance companies provided a financial safety net for families in an era where workplace mortality rates were high and the death of an earner often left a widow and children destitute.

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Effective form of leveling: Britain’s mutual production societies, insurance companies and cooperatives were once a powerful force

I was struck by the running account of the store at his funeral while reading a book published in 1907 by Lady Florence Bell, the Ironmaster’s wife, about the strong working class community of Middlesbrough at the end of the last century. LV, once Liverpool Victoria, started out by helping people give a respectful departure to their loved ones rather than a pauper’s grave.

Perhaps Mark Hartigan and Alan Cook, chief executives and presidents, who are trying to sell the nation’s second-largest mutual insurance company to private equity, think it’s just a sentimental trip down memory lane. not enough.

It matters now more than ever that ordinary people have access to finance on fair terms, access to information on what happens to their own money and to make choices. These values ​​were at the core of the reciprocal movement and they are still as important as they were in the 19th century.

The personal finance landscape is changing rapidly. Tech can give us more control and participation with our money – and so small savers can become a big enabler of democracy. There is a possibility of reciprocity of reciprocity, which is much needed.

I am not stellar in relationships, nor am I blind to many shortcomings.

Mutual is seen as the slow lane in the city, so the pay at the top, although grand, is not as extravagant as elsewhere. As a result, the sector has attracted more than a share of fraudsters and duffers.

That role of disrespect includes the team that brought just life to the brink of ruin and Crystal Methodist Paul Flowers, former president of the Co-op Bank.

Big beasts monetized and floated across the stock market in carpet-bagging fever. Sold or floated to large mutual insurers. I really don’t blame US private equity house Bain Capital for finding an opportunity to profit from the embers of mutual movement – it would be like throwing a scorpion to its sting.

Cook and Hartigan are primarily to blame for their inadequate management. Members were entitled to expect more from the deal. The reality between mutuals often has little to do with great principles. But that means principles need to be defended and reinvested, not discarded.

Private equities and managers willing to sell them should expect scrutiny. Regulators should do better in protecting consumers. It seems that almost every major event happens outside their periphery.

The owners of our previous major operators, Nationwide and Royal London Insurance, must endorse the virtues of modern reciprocity. And small savers need to take an active interest and make themselves heard.

Although the LV vote goes, I hope this is a wake-up call.

LV. raise your voice

We are encouraging LV members, customers, or others who wish to retain their reciprocal position to write it, rather than having it purchased by private equity.

You can use the words from the letter printed in the City page of the Granthshala newspaper (pictured here).

We’ve included words for you to copy and paste in one letter below.

Send this to Alan Cook, LV= President, Liverpool Victoria, County Gates, Bournemouth, BH1 2NF

Dear Alan Cook,

I, the undersigned, urge you to reconsider your decision to sell LV= to Bain Capital and instead retain its reciprocal position.


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