Investing

Scottish Friendly Review UK: For ISAs, Savings, Bonds & Investments

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Scottish Friendly is among the biggest mutual life and investments organizations in the United Kingdom and has an incredibly long history having been around for more than 150 years.

Scottish Friendly was originally established under the name City of Glasgow Friendly Society in 1862. In 1992, the name changed to Scottish Friendly Assurance. This was a result of the business transferring from a Scottish-based mutual.

Currently, Scottish Friendly is a financial services group with a range of services and products all related to finances. The company is still based in Glasgow. Scottish Friendly makes customer service a high priority.

To give an idea of the size of Scottish Friendly, it had more than 550,000 members as of Dec. 31, 2017, and was looking after assets valued at over £2.7 billion.

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Awards and Milestones

Since being founded in 1862, Scottish Friendly has a rich history. It has been involved with the community and started accepting check payments in 1962. Scottish Friendly launched its website in 1997 and began sponsoring a children’s literacy project in 1998. It introduced ISA accounts in 1999 and restructured the business to eliminate the direct sales force in 2004. The company introduced its Child Trust Fund in 2005. A new website and Flexible Plans launched in 2011, with the My Plans online tool in 2012. In 2013, it launched the new Junior ISA product.

Scottish Friendly Website

In 2007, Scottish Friendly earned the Orange Best Use of Technology in Business Award from the National Business Awards in Scotland. The following year, Cedent awarded the company the Best Practice in Insurance Administration Award. Also in 2008, Fiona McBain, the company’s chief executive, was the Business Leader of the Year at the Glasgow Business Awards. In 2010, the company won the Young People Award from the Arts & Business Scotland for sponsoring “Meet Our Authors” on World Book Day. In 2012, it won the Scottish Business Awards’ Financial Services Company of the Year Award.

Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour

The Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour is one of the many ways that the financial institution gives back to the community. The tour marked its 20th anniversary in 2018 and involves a partnership with the Scottish Book Trust. It aims to inspire the imagination of children via a passion for illustration, reading, and writing. To date, it has reached 1,081 schools and 100,000 children.

Benefits of Scottish Friendly Being a Mutual

The concept of a mutual organization is somewhat unusual to most people, so Scottish Friendly outlines what it entails on its website. Mutuals are exclusively owned by their members or customers and run just for the benefit of those members. They offer a range of services, including investments, savings, children’s savings, insurance, mortgages, pensions, and healthcare.

As a mutual, Scottish Friendly gives clients some benefits over other banking systems. This mutual offers similar services to insurance companies and banks, but without paying profits to shareholders. Instead, the profits get reinvested to benefit everyone or are redistributed to members. Since mutual are owned by members, the members also get a bigger say in how the organization gets run, even voting at annual meetings on important issues.

About Scottish Friendly

Mutuals are highly reliable, and not a single friendly society nor mutual insurer collapsed or received state aid during the financial crisis. At the same time, you get the same protection from a mutual as you would any other bank. Scottish Friendly has authorization from the Prudential Regulation Authority, which also regulates the mutual along with the Financial Conduct Authority.

Mutuals like Scottish Friendly are designed for people from any level of society, offering long-term views for investments and savings. There is also increased trust since mutuals serve the needs of both employees and customers instead of those of shareholders. Essentially, there is no need to appease profit-hungry investors.

Scottish Friendly Services

There are three main subsidiaries of Scottish Friendly, each of which offers its own set of services and products. Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited is responsible for marketing and offers a range of savings, life, and investment products. Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited has a range of various investment products, such as OEICs, Junior ISAs, and ISAs. It also offers expert fund manager access. Finally, Scottish Friendly Insurance Services Limited provides the back-office support for Scottish Friendly and offers bespoke insurance products for other financial service companies.

What Protections Do Scottish Friendly Clients Have?

The head office of Scottish Friendly is at Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority, with the former also authorizing it. The registration number on the Financial Services Register is 110002. It also is a member of AFM and ABI.

Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited is regulated and authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority. You can find details on the Financial Services Register with Registration No. 188832. It is registered in Scotland with No. 187215.

Scottish Friendly Insurance Services Limited is also authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with Registration No. 113007 in Scotland and Registration No. 457058 on the Financial Services Register.

Finally, SFIS (Nominees) Limited is registered in Scotland with No. 397351.

Savings and investments from Scottish Friendly also get protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Thanks to the FSCS, if the firm ceases trading or is declared in default, the FSCS can pay clients compensation. The compensation limits on new investments from Scottish Friendly is 100 per cent of the claim, without an upper limit. Certain older products have different limits. You can find a specific limit of coverage by contacting Scottish Friendly.

What Else Should You Know about How Scottish Friendly Operates?

Scottish Friendly holds Annual General Meetings where it communicates performance to the Scottish friendly delegates who represent Scottish Friendly members. This is also where the company passes important votes that on management and direction decisions. Only Scottish Friendly Delegates can attend the meetings.

There are 30 delegate positions, with each representing one of the company’s five geographical electoral districts. Those districts include the Republic of Ireland, South of England & Wales, North of England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Vacancies occasionally arise and each year, a third of delegates must retire in a rotation, with the choice of offering themselves for re-election. Nominations for delegate vacancies take place in January.

What Financial Products Does Scottish Friendly Offer?

Scottish Friendly offers a range of products to help individuals plan for their future, as well as that of their children. Products include Investment ISAs, Junior ISAs, bonds, and life cover.

Read More about ISAs in our guides:

Individual Savings Accounts

Investment ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) let you start investing towards the future with just £10 a month or more. You can invest as much as £20,000 with your ISA allowance within the 2018-19 tax year, minus any amounts that you already have in a Lifetime ISA, Innovative Finance ISA, or Cash ISA. There is a range of ISAs from Scottish Friendly to fit your needs.

My Easy Choice ISA

These include My Easy Choice (ISA) and My Choice (ISA). The first of these is straightforward, as it involves investing in a single fund and includes a guarantee of getting at least what you invested back on the 10-year anniversary. This ISA starts at either a lump sum of £100 or £10 a month.

My Easy Choice ISA

My Choice ISA

The My Choice (ISA) lets you choose from nine funds, offering more control. Each fund has a risk and reward profile to help you decide. Investment quantity options are the same. You can invest the same amount, from just £10 per month and you can receive a welcome gift of up to £45 when you start investing.

My Choice ISA

Junior ISA

Scottish Friendly also offers Junior ISAs, which are like Investment ISAs but specifically designed for children. Investments start at just £10 a month. You can invest as much as £4,260 with your child’s Junior ISA allowance for the 2018-19 tax year, minus any funds already held in a Cash Junior ISA. After you start the Junior ISA, anyone else can contribute if you stay within the annual limits.

Junior ISA

Bonds

Or you can invest in bonds, which are a tax-efficient investment and do not count towards the ISA allowance. You can invest as much as £25 each month with a tax allowance that is exclusive to Friendly Societies. As part of the tax benefit for either you or your child, life cover is included.

Investment Bonds

Life Insurance

Finally, Scottish Friendly offers Life Cover, which is a range of plans that protect you and your family and deliver peace of mind. Scottish Friendly partners with several organizations and companies to offer life cover for a range of needs. Partners include Beagle Street, Golden Charter, and Smart Insurance.

Life Insurance

How to Select an Investment Product

Scottish Friendly tries to make it as easy as possible to select an investment product. It supplies detailed descriptions of each of the above investment products and offers guides to specific products.

Additionally, one of the main navigation tabs on the Scottish Friendly website is called “Investing for Life” and helps you specifically determine the right product based on your goals. You start by selecting whether you are investing for yourself, your child, or your grandchild. Based on that information, Scottish Friendly will give you appropriate investment options based on the time frame and other factors.

Investing for Life

This page also offers links to the various guides that Scottish Friendly has. You can read the “Guide to saving and investing” to help you figure out whether to save or invest and where to start. There is also a “Guide to ISAs,” “Guide to Junior ISAs,” and “Guide to the Lifetime ISA.” To prevent confusion. For those who are unsure about whether they should go with an ISA or Cash ISA, there is also a guide comparing the two. Scottish Friendly even has a guide that includes six common misconceptions about ISAs.

Scottish Friendly Insights Hub

The Insights Hub is designed to give Scottish Friendly clients additional insights into their savings and related news. There are articles about topics like investophobia, generation divides, and more. You will also find a link encouraging you to join the Great British Savings Challenge and some comparison tools. These tools let you compare disposable income, food prices, and pension plans.

Insights Hub

The Great British Savings Challenge, in particular, is interesting, as it was a previous challenge from Scottish Friendly that encouraged British families to work on their savings by participating in various challenges to save money. Although the challenge is officially over, clients can still get inspiration from the challenge via the articles and information about real participants and the savings they achieved.

Scottish Friendly Help Centre

In addition to all of the above information that Scottish Friendly provides to clients to help them decide what to do with their money, the company also has a detailed help centre. There is a search feature in the help centre or you can browse the topics, which are divided by “My Plans account basics,” “Your details,” “Managing your investments,” “Investing on behalf of a child,” “My Rewards and My Benefits,” and “Understanding investments.”

Help Centre

In each category, you will find several sub-categories, each with a list of topics. Clicking on a specific topic will give you detailed information about it. You should be able to find answers to the most common questions in the help centre, and the search function makes it fairly easy to find what you are looking for.

Scottish Friendly Customer Support

There are several ways that you can contact customer support from Scottish Friendly. There are two phone numbers you can call, depending on whether you are in the UK or Eire. The team is on hand on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. You can also email Scottish Friendly via its online contact form or send a letter via traditional snail mail.

Conclusion

Scottish Friendly offers financial products and works with partners to offer life coverage, as well. The company has been in business for more than 150 years and is regulated to provide clients with peace of mind.

Scottish Friendly does not offer the range of investment products that other providers we have covered do, if you are looking for a more hands-on approach or different investment products then we recommend you look at MoneyFarm and Fidelity.

As it stands though, Scottish Friendly offer a simple and affordable way to get started building an ISA with a low tolerance for risk as they offer investment products which guarantee your invested money back. However with these types of investments, your possible returns will not be as great as with more risky products.

With the minimum investment amount being just £10 per month, Scottish Friendly can be great for people just starting out and wanting to make use of their ISA allowance, the Junior ISA is also a great way to start saving some money for your children to use later on in life.

Visit Scottish Friendly

Scottish Friendly

8.8

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Fees

8.0/10

Reputation

10.0/10

Customer Support

9.0/10

Design

8.0/10

Pros

  • Long History & Well Established
  • Mutual - No Profits to Shareholders
  • FSCS Protection for Funds
  • Low Monthly Invstment Requirement
  • Good for Beginners

Cons

  • Not Large Choice of Funds
  • Not Large Choice of Investment Types
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Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyCheck and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience in Investing and UK Business.His writing has been quoted by Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Investopedia, The New Yorker, Forbes, Techcrunch & More.He built Money Check to bring the highest level of education about personal finance to the general public with clear and unbiased reporting.oliver@moneycheck.com


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank or credit card issuer and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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