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Advertorial: Metfriendly

Metfriendly is a police-owned Friendly Society that is available to officers around the country. We caught up with former chief superintendent and current chair Joanna Young on the services it provides to front line families.

Advertorial: Metfriendly

Date - 25th February 2021
By - Police Oracle

Joanna, please can you tell me a bit more about Metfriendly?

Metfriendly’s official name is the Metropolitan Police Friendly Society – it was established in 1893 to look after Police Officers and their families. Since those early days Metfriendly has continued to look after more members and their families across the whole of the UK and establish itself as a highly successful and solvent financial services organisation. It’s a member owned mutual and so is not only able to deliver competitive returns but can also focus on providing relevant information, products and services for the Police Family.

PO. What led you to becoming Chair at Metfriendly?

During my Police career I had many savings plans with Metfriendly and I was always pleased with their ethos, how they looked after me as a member and the returns I got. As my career progressed to Chief Super I became increasingly aware of the importance of good financial education was and how important a role of Metfriendly played in supporting Officers and their families. When the chance to become a Non-Executive Director appeared, I was fortunate enough to be successful and since then I’ve had the privilege to be voted the Chair of Metfriendly.

PO. Who is eligible to join Metfriendly?

We often get asked this question. Traditionally our members have come from the London police services, the Met and the City, however our financial plans are also available to members of all UK police services and their families. More specifically our membership is open to Serving, former or retired of the following: Police Officers, Police Staff, PCSOs, NCA Officers, Special Constables and Volunteers.

Your family members can apply too and take advantage of our offers. These offers may include guaranteed annual bonus rates and promotional bonuses for lump sum investments. You can find  full details of eligibility at: https://www.metfriendly.org.uk/why-metfriendly/eligibility/

PO. We know 2020 was a challenging year for many of us, how did Metfriendly cope?

I think it is safe to say that 2020 brought up lots of challenges for us all. Fortunately, at Metfriendly we had recently updated our planning and processes for operating remotely at the end of 2019 and so were able to move to our new way of working very quickly. Looking after our staff in a supportive and flexible way meant that we were able to maintain our usual high level of customer service during these challenging times.

What has been the impact been on members funds?

In recent years we have reviewed our investment strategy to make sure it focussed on achieving long term stability for our members. We knew that with the final stages of Brexit and historically low interest rates, that stability and security would be important for many people. We are very pleased with our investment returns and so it seems so are our members!  Visit https://www.metfriendly.org.uk/why-metfriendly/past-performance/ to see how our policies have historically performed, but please remember that past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns.

 

PO. How does Metfriendly support the Police Family?

We support the financial education of officers whether at the start of their career, mid-career or as they approach retirement. We deliver that through face-to-face events or more recently, through the use of live or recorded webinars.  This makes sure we can support officers, staff and their families across the country and at a time to suit them. Approaching retirement is a key time for all of the Police family so we encourage everyone to attend at least one of our events to help them understand what choices they will be facing both in terms of Pension but also lifestyle, as they move on to the next stage of their life.

Metfriendly also supports many Police Family initiatives whether it be the National Police Memorial Day, Team Police, Police sports clubs, The Met Police Choir and in more recent years the London Retired Police Dog’s Trust.

PO.  How has Metfriendly’s strategy evolved in recent years?

Metfriendly was established by Police Officers to help their colleagues and their families. We still see this as our guiding principle and we try to ensure everything we do will help Police families achieve their ambitions. This can be by providing simple products for a fixed-term of 5 or 10 years to help establish the savings habit or making the most of Government backed Tax Free ISA solutions for all members of the Police Family. We feel it’s very important that we maintain our relevancy and so in recent years we were one of the first providers of the Government’s Lifetime ISA, the LISA. This a very useful product for members of the Police family aged between 18 and 40 and looking to get on the housing ladder. For every £1 you save the Government very kindly add in 25p meaning you can receive up to an extra £1,000 from them a year. This is great news as it means that as long as you use the account to buy your first home or for your retirement then you could receive over £30,000 of free Government money. It’s been a great privilege to help educate members and support them on that journey and achieve their ambitions.

PO. What next for Metfriendly?

This desire to support police officers and their families in challenging times is why the Metropolitan Police Friendly Society was established in 1893. Although in 2021 we offer savings and investments products, we also still offer insurance products that ensure Officers and their families are looked after should the worst happen. Police and police families really are at the heart of everything that Metfriendly does. We are Police Family focused and Police Family owned and many of the team at Metfriendly have direct police family connections.  Metfriendly will continue to deliver a financially strong sustainable business focused on the needs of its current and future members

PO Any final thoughts for our readers?

For many of us, finding the time be in control of our finances can be a challenge. Our range of products can enable you to bring all your investments together in one place to make life simpler. It also means your money receives unlimited protection through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) as opposed to the £85,000 limit you may get from a high street bank or similar provider. Although this may not seem relevant at the present time, as you retire this may become relevant and it is surprising how many people neglect to make sure their hard-earned money is safely protected.

Finally, being in control of your money is a key skill whatever role you are doing in life. Please make use of our webinars and information on our website (https://www.metfriendly.org.uk/) to help you make the most of what you’ve got – our guide to Police Pay is particularly popular (https://resources.metfriendly.org.uk/your-guide-to-police-pay-scales)  and of course, stay safe.

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