Friendly soceities in the UK | moneyfacts.co.uk

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What is a Friendly Society?

A Friendly Society is a mutual organisation that is owned by its members. This makes them like building societies, and both are regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and The Financial Conduct Authority. The main difference is that Friendly Societies offering insurance products must be registered under The Friendly Societies Act 1992. This status means Friendly Societies can offer unique products such as Tax-Exempt Savings Bonds.

How could a Friendly Society help you?

  • Established in 1834, Foresters Friendly have over 185 years’ experience of helping families and their finances and have a 4.5/5 rating on Reviews.io. If you are saving for your first home, a dream holiday, that classic car, your retirement or want to help your kids through university, their savings and investment plans are designed to help you get there.

    Foresters Friendly offer the following saving and investment plans:

    • Lifetime ISA
    • Stocks and Shares ISA
    • Investment Bond
    • Tax Exempt Savings Plans for adults and children
    • Junior ISA
    • Inherited ISA Allowance Plan

    Plus, when you open a plan you then have access to membership benefits including discretionary grants (which don’t need to be paid back) to help you to cover the cost of things like higher education and healthcare costs such as trips to the dentist or optician. In 2020, Foresters paid over £1.7m in discretionary grants to its members.

    Some plans also include an offer of up to £160 M&S Gift Cards when you apply online, depending on the amount invested. For full Ts&Cs see the Foresters Friendly website.

    Capital at risk. Tax rules may change and depend on individual circumstances. Member benefits are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority.

  • Healthy Investment has been at the forefront of managing members’ savings and investments ethically since its formation in 1835.

    It has over 100,000 members with funds under management of £174million.

    The Society is very committed to supporting investors who want to combine investing for a financial return with a positive contribution to the environment.

    Products offered by the Society include:

    • Ethical ISAs
    • Investment Bonds
    • Junior ISAs
    • Tax Exempt Savings Plans
    • Children’s Savings

    Savings and investments with Healthy Investment will not be invested in companies in certain industries and those whose activities are not in accord with their members’ personal values. Examples are the tobacco, armaments, alcohol and fur manufacturing industries, gambling and pornography providers and companies that manufacture products or ingredients that have been tested on animals.

    The Society seeks to invest in companies that are explicitly involved in activities that benefit society and the environment. Examples are companies that are tackling climate change, promoting a low carbon economy, promoting diversity and equal opportunities, and improving energy efficiency.

    100% of an investment with Healthy Investment is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme unlike cash deposits with banks and building societies where it is currently limited to £85,000 per individual.

    Tax rules may change and depend on individual circumstances. Capital at risk.

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Disclaimer

The list of friendly societies on this page is a selection of services available and gives you an idea of the kind of options available. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting any of the providers listed. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts.co.uk will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts.co.uk recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

What products do Friendly Societies offer?

Friendly societies offer savings, investments, insurance, pensions and other retirement products.

What is a Tax-Exempt Savings Plan?

A Tax-Exempt Saving Plan is a type of investment fund. You can pay up to £25 per month or £270 per year into the fund over a term of 10 to 25 years. The Friendly Society then invests the pooled money from its members into various investments and this can include stocks and shares. Some Tax-Exempt Savings Plans offer a minimum level of growth and bonuses too. The monthly or annual payments are in addition to your ISA Tax Allowance and the income earned when the Plan matures is also tax-free.

How are Tax-Exempt Savings Plans different to cash savings accounts?

Cash savings accounts do not risk your capital, while a Tax-Exempt Saving Plan is a form of investment and this means the money you may receive back could be less than you invested. Interest earned from a cash savings account may be liable for tax if this exceeds The Personal Savings Allowance while earnings from a Tax-Exempt Savings Plan is tax-free.
Both are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as long as they are held with a UK authorised bank, building society or friendly society.

Investments bonds from a Friendly Society

Investment bonds from a Friendly Society allow you to invest a lump sum over five years or more. The Friendly Society then manages this money as a pooled fund and invests these into the stock market. Some Friendly Society investment bonds allow you make an annual withdrawal tax-free. Income from the investment bond is free from basic rate income tax and capital gains tax.
As this is an investment you may receive back less than you originally invested.

ISAs from a Friendly Society

Some Friendly Societies also offer Lifetime ISAs, Stocks and Shares ISAs and Junior ISAs. Some Friendly Societies also offer the option of an Inherited ISA Allowance.

Income protection from a Friendly Society

Income protection can help you if you find you cannot work due to illness or injury. The policy runs until a set end date, sometimes capped by the Friendly Society, for example at the age of 70. Some Friendly Societies offer an enhanced policy where for an addition al premium you can receive a share of the surplus profits of the Friendly Society. This builds into a capital sum you can receive when the policy ends.

Over 50s life cover from a Friendly Society

Some Friendly Societies also offer over 50s life cover. This provides a guaranteed lump sum for your family after you pass away. You can usually find life insurance cover from a Friendly Society that does not require a medical and with fixed monthly premiums.

Why did Friendly Societies start?

Friendly Societies started to emerge during the Industrial Revolution and were officially recognised by the UK Government in 1875. Local groups of people came together to save money collectively that could be used in case of an emergency. Members of the Friendly Society could access money if they feel on hard times, for example if they fell sick, needed to pay for a funeral or to replace livestock or tools.

How many Friendly Societies are in the UK?

Shepherds Friendly Society estimates there are around 200 Friendly Societies in the UK.

How do Friendly Societies make money?

A Friendly Society invests the funds of its members and manages its insurance funds to generate returns to cover its operating costs, invest in services and to pay bonuses as required to its members. It does not have shareholders so any profits generated are distributed to members or member services.

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