Reinventing the future

Trace the history and it’s clear that, from day one, Old Mutual has focused on meeting the long-term needs of its customers and communities by responding to the markets it serves through constant adaptation and innovation. 

The company’s humble beginnings were created with power and purpose in its vision. It was launched in Cape Town in 1845, under the leadership of a philanthropic forward-thinking Scotsman called John Fairbairn. A champion of human rights, he envisaged an organisation that would be “universally useful” and “a blessing to all future ages”.

From that noble dream grew an internationally focused company that today has more than 17 million customers and 61 000 employees (including Nedbank), with funds under management in the region of £319-billion. 

Perseverance and commitment remain critical to its success and growth, as do staying relevant and earning the continued trust of customers. 

To achieve this, Old Mutual has a strong customer focus and offers products and services that are constantly adapted and updated to meet changing needs and that also deliver on their promise. For example, in 2013 more than 96% of all claims received were paid out, amounting to more than R4.3-billion.

In the early days, Old Mutual offered predominantly life insurance and risk products, but over the years it evolved into a comprehensive and leading financial services provider. Today it provides individuals, corporates and institutions with a wide range of savings, protection and investment solutions. 

Recent successful innovations in its new product space include the Old Mutual 2-in-ONE Savings Plans (which offers customers flexibility between long-term savings and short-term cash needs), the Old Mutual Invest Tax Free Savings Account and Integrated Wealth Planning. 

Best African Fund Manager

Old Mutual’s footprint continues to expand across the African continent with Old Mutual Investment Group, now the largest private sector investment manager in Africa. In 2014 it received, among other accolades, the Best African Fund Manager award. Close to R30-billion of Old Mutual Emerging Markets’ R950-billion funds under management has been committed to education, affordable housing, infrastructure, renewable energy and agriculture to accelerate socio-economic growth and development. 

Gary Hamel, dubbed “the world’s reigning strategy guru” by The Economist, claims that much of the future is being created by disruptors on the fringe. While this is probably true, it’s also true that most of the future is shaped, developed and given scale by governments and businesses working closely together.

Advancing the National Development Plan

In South Africa, as the nation’s leading financial services provider and the largest custodian of its savings and investments, Old Mutual believes it has an important role to play in contributing to the government’s National Development Plan (NDP). 

Old Mutual’s collaborative socio-economic investments in this regard include:

Public and energy infrastructure: The IDEAS Managed Fund, managed by the Old Mutual Investment Group, is South Africa’s largest domestic infrastructure equity fund, with assets totalling R6.4-billion. By partnering with the government, the fund has invested approximately R12-billion in renewable energy projects with a clean power generation capacity of 2290MW. 

Affordable housing for families earning less than R18 600 a month. As the largest provider in this category, Old Mutual has invested R9.1-billion in housing and provided 17 500 housing units. 

Investment into education: Old Mutual’s Schools Investment Fund has R1.2-billion of committed capital, with R792-million already allocated to financing 28 independent low-fee paying schools across the country.  

Agriculture: Old Mutual has invested R1.9-billion in agricultural land, biological assets, agricultural infrastructure and other related farming implements, with exposure also in Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Critical to economic growth are sustainable investments, in the words of Ralph Mupita, chief executive of Old Mutual Emerging Markets. 

“They deliver good, inflation-beating returns to investors, while contributing to the overall socio-economic growth, development and integration of South Africa and the other countries in Africa in which Old Mutual operates: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.” 

Another key focus area for Old Mutual is ensuring that it is as accessible to customers digitally as it is face-to-face and telephonically through its call centres, 7 500 financial advisers and more than 250 Old Mutual Finance branches.

To promote financial education and share knowledge, skills and insights, it offers a range of financial planning tools, calculators and online workshops. For example, the Old Mutual mobile app gives access to up-to-date balances and information on Old Mutual sponsored events, products, services and more.

Sharing money management skills and building a strong savings and investment culture is not only good for business; it also enables a better future for all.

As a trusted brand with a growing footprint in Africa and innovative new products and services, Old Mutual is strongly positioned to magnify the positive and sustainable impact it makes on the lives of its customers, communities, employees, investors and the environment.

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