Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Old Mutual Leads The Way To ‘Responsible Business’ Model


Embracing the earlier banking approach wherein the benefits of the customers were given priority and observing the wind of change in the near future trend of international financial market, the Old Mutual has shifted to ‘Responsible Business’ practices.

Dailycsr.com – 23 September 2015 – Right in the beginning when the concept of banking emerged whereby pooling in the power of money from banks, investment-houses, and insurance companies in order to provide better deals to customers than they could ever manage alone, the services and the managing system of money in circulation was “good”.
However, along with the passing time the ethics went drifting away while the commitments of the banks to their shareholders held the primary importance. In the words of Helen Wilson from “Old Mutual”:
“Now, we have come full circle.”
The core belief of the Old Mutual reinforces the idea that “the future lies in the past” wherein lies the true purpose. Their message to the customers states that they will stand by them and manage their money better than they could have managed doing all by themselves. The investments will be made so as to create a “positive future” for the latter.
Old Mutual is a saving, banking and investment group that was inaugurated in the year of 1845 in “South Africa”. In the initial stages only company had as many customers as seventeen millions throughout the world while they managed over “£319.4bn funds”, while Wilson comments:

“Up until the 2008 banking crisis the attitude towards financial institutions was pretty much: we don’t really know what you do but we trust that you know what you’re doing. People didn’t ask questions.”
However, within a period of following two years the tables had turned and the customers began questioning the banks demanding more transparency; as per Wilson:

“At Old Mutual we commissioned an independent survey of all our stakeholders – customers, experts, NGOs, investors, shareholders – and asked them: what do you want us to do? How do you want us to behave?

“The answers came back loud and clear: get your house in order, look at your governance, treat employees and customers fairly, respect the environment and, above all, ask us what we want - don’t assume to know.

“From this to-do list we identified our five pillars of Responsible Business: Customers, Responsible Investment, Employees, Communities and Environment. Now we want to be best in class and have identified two focus areas that we will look to lead in – financial wellbeing and responsible investment.

“We firmly believe, and we are lucky in that our CEO Julian Roberts was an early supporter, that business can be a source for good and that the financial services sector is uniquely positioned to be regenerative rather than destructive.”
However, Wilson does admit that doing business with a sense of responsibility is still not the norm when it comes to “corporate social responsibility or social investment”. Wilson goes further to explain the concept of “Responsible business” which still remains alien in the present business world:
“It’s not about charitable giving or sponsorship, although these still have their place, it’s not about avoiding socially irresponsible investments. Responsible business is about actively doing good, actively tackling issues like inequality, inclusion and environmental degradation.

“It involves a sea change in our thinking: caring about all our stakeholders not just our shareholders, and this has to be our strategic policy across the Group”.
Likewise, the Old Mutual has been building up infrastructure in South Africa along with investing in renewable energies, whereby continuing to look into “Financial Wellbeing and Responsible Investment”. Besides, it also works at the ground level with the farmers and teaches them better finance management so as to prevent leasing out of their land to creditors for the latter will not “necessarily care for the land as well as the farmers”.
As per Wilson, with long-term action comes “long-term profit”, for she is certain that “responsible business” model will be the “future of the international financial services industry”.