SHEFFIELD Mutual Friendly Society announced a record payout for members and reported strong growth in new business, driven by the popularity of new online services.
The society said its with-profits investment ISA proved to be the star performer last year, as it provides cautious investors with a relatively low risk alternative to what it described as the “woeful returns” available on most cash ISAs.
The group said total assets increased by 19 per cent to £68.3m in 2013 and traditional premium income rose by 34 per cent to £5.65m.
Membership grew by six per cent to 8,508 and the society now has 74,086 policies and accounts.
Sheffield Mutual’s with-profits fund produced an overall investment return of 8.0 per cent, up from 7.6 per cent in 2012, which enabled the society to maintain or increase annual and final bonus rates.
The society said it remained top of the independent comparison surveys for payouts on with-profits regular premium savings plans, a position it has held for over five years.
Tony Burdin, chief executive, said: “We expected 2013 to be a year of transition because of the impact of the Retail Distribution Review and, in particular, the introduction of fees for financial advice.
“However, the reduction in adviser originated business was more than compensated for by the increase in business direct from the public, via our website and from non-advised referrals.”
He said he was confident about Sheffield Mutual’s prospects for 2014 and beyond.
“Our online sales are gaining momentum and despite the recent regulatory changes we have maintained a core support base of financial advisers and introducers, who recognise our attractiveness to risk-averse clients with more straightforward investment needs.
“Our ongoing appeal gives us the determination to remain a successful independent friendly society, being well run, financially strong and with a growing membership.”
He said the society maintained a strong financial base and its available capital increased to £10.16m from £7.1m in 2012.