Update from Chief Executive: COVID-19, investments & more

An update from our Chief Executive

21 January 2021

Happy New Year to you and your families.  Here’s to a healthy and positive 2021.

With the whole of the UK in lockdown, I thought it important to reiterate that we are open, we will remain open and we continue to be here for all of our members.

COVID-19 support for members

  • We have previously communicated to members that our Foresters Support Fund may be able to provide financial assistance during the pandemic in the form of grants that are not required to be paid back. Foresters has a long and strong track record of giving back to our members in this way, through our member benefits package, and we are proud to have paid over £1.6million to members in discretionary grants in 2019 alone.
  • Since the start of the pandemic to the beginning of January 2021, we have supported many members and paid out over £75,000 for COVID-related discretionary grants.
  • Should you wish to claim for financial assistance, please use this form. Our team are working hard to respond to requests quickly.

Investment Performance

Our With Profits Fund (for Foresters Friendly Society branded plans)

Our investment managers have now re-risked our with-profits Order Insurance Fund.  You can read a short update here.

Should you require any details about your plans, or about how you can invest with us, please contact our Member services team on 0800 622 417 or email us on MemberServices@pois.co.uk.

We look forward to supporting you throughout 2021.


6 November 2020

I hope you are keeping safe and well.

With England now entering its second lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic and other nations already having restrictions in place, I thought it important to provide a further update on how your Society is navigating this period and, equally as important, how we can possibly help you, our members.

In a nutshell, we are open, we will remain open and we are very much here for all of our members.

Covid-19 support for members

  • We have previously communicated to members that our Foresters Support Fund may be able to provide financial assistance during the pandemic in the form of grants that are not required to be paid back. Foresters has a long and strong track record of giving back to our members in this way, through our member benefits package, and we are proud to have paid over £1.6million to members in discretionary grants in 2019 alone.
  • Since the start of the pandemic to the beginning of November, we have supported many members and paid out over £61,000 for COVID-related discretionary grants.
  • Should you wish to claim for financial assistance, please use this form. Our team are working hard to respond to requests in a short amount of time.

Sales and Financial Performance

  • September 2020 was a record new business premium income month for the Society’s with-profits business. Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to see strong levels of investments being made from both people new to the Society and our existing members who continue to save and invest with us. People often turn to mutual organisations during turbulent times and we are delighted they continue to place their trust in Foresters.
  • We’ve continued our ongoing relationships with financial advisers and our introducers via the telephone and e-communications, and more recently the reinstatement of face to face visits. With the second lockdown now in place, unfortunately the face to face visits must be paused to comply with Government advice and for the safety of our staff and business partners, but these will be re-started as soon as we are able to.

Investment Performance

Our Unit Linked Investment Funds (for POIS branded plans)

  • We have continued to monitor market levels, activity and sentiment and our expert internal Investment team have maintained weekly calls with our portfolio manager at our external investment managers, AXA IM.
  • It’s important to remember our savings products offer long-term investments, and that whilst events such as the current pandemic can have a short-term impact, these often do not affect the long term picture. Our team of experts will continue to work in your best interests to support your savings goals during this time of global uncertainty.

Our With Profits Fund (for Foresters Friendly Society branded plans)

  • We are providing regular updates on the performance of our With Profits Order Insurance Fund, which you can view on our website here. Again, our team of investment experts are working closely to monitor the fund’s performance.
  • US markets have reacted positively to the global stimulus packages from Governments and central banks, although this is largely concentrated on gains in the large technology companies, such as Amazon, Apple and Netflix, that have seen increased revenue streams throughout the pandemic. Other regions, especially Europe, have been much slower to recover, with markets still typically 20-25% lower than at the end of 2019. Bond markets have performed well during the past 6 months with prices rising and yields falling as central banks reduced interest rates.
  • The current asset mix within the Order Insurance Fund remains largely unchanged to the update provided in April 2020. It should again be noted that this asset allocation is a temporary position and as mentioned, we are monitoring the markets, in collaboration with our investment managers, to determine the appropriate time to re-risk the portfolio, with an expectation that this will be before the end of 2020. A new asset allocation will be initiated at this time.

Social Events

  • Our Court (branch) network are usually very active, providing a wide option of social gatherings for members to partake in.  Due to the restrictions on mass gatherings, a physical AGM (‘High Court’) could not take place this year. The Society’s first ever virtual High Court was held on September 19th and was successful.
  • Our Courts have responded to the challenge the pandemic has caused and have been able to establish virtual meetings which will be of huge benefit as we enter this period of lockdown.  Our befriending assistance has continued throughout the pandemic to ensure that our members who need it most are aware that we are here for them, no matter what.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. I wish you and your family well. If you need to contact us about any matter, please use the contact us page to direct your query.

Best wishes
Rachel Hardy
Chief Executive


20 May 2020

It’s important that we keep our members up to date during these uncertain times. Here at Foresters Friendly Society, it is very much business as usual. Our head office remains open and we have set the majority of our hard working staff up to work from home in keeping with Government guidance. By implementing this dual approach and ensuring safeguarding measures in our office, we can continue to provide a full service to our members and intermediaries.

How we can help you
As a mutual Society, we are here for you as much more than just a financial services provider.

Please don’t forget that in these trying times, our Foresters Support Fund may be able to help. Discretionary grants are available to assist our adult members (over 18 years of age and who have been a member for at least 6 months) in times of hardship or distress by paying up to £2,000. We’ve recently been able to help members facing illness or financial difficulties due to COVID-19. Find out more about our Support Fund.

As always, please rest assured that as your mutual society, we will do our utmost to ensure we put you, and our staff who provide you with the service you have come to expect, first at all times.

Stay alert and stay well

Rachel Hardy
Chief Executive


26 March 2020

We are certainly living in unprecedented times and we recognise the importance of keeping all of our members up to date with how your mutual Society is responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Operating our business has become more challenging since the lockdown announcements made by the Government this week. Nevertheless, our Claims teams are included in the Government’s list of essential services and we will continue to operate our service for our 70,000+ individual members and for those insured through our Group schemes. We recognise that your circumstances may have changed and we need to support you as best we can.

We are working hard to maintain our service levels with the new approach. We have a small team of staff still based in the office to ensure that we can continue to provide the usual service that members expect with regard to Claims. If you are unable to get through to our team, we use an external service provider who will take messages and forward them to us and our staff will call you back at the first available opportunity. 

Foresters Support Fund

Please don’t forget that in these trying times, our Foresters Support Fund may be able to help. Discretionary grants are available to assist our adult members (over 18 years of age and who have been a member for at least 6 months) in times of hardship or distress by paying up to £2,000. For example, we’ve been able to help members affected by floods and members facing illness or financial difficulties.  We feel it is only right that this fund now supports those who have been affected by COVID-19.  Please click here for more details.

Thank you again for your patience and perseverance over these last few weeks and for bearing with us as we all adapt to the evolving situation we have found ourselves in.

Stay safe.

Best wishes

Rachel Hardy
Chief Executive


18 March 2020

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to cause concern and unease amongst the UK and worldwide population, it is important that our members are kept updated with the steps that we are taking to ensure we can continue to provide the high service levels that you expect of us, for you and your family.

Service levels

In keeping with government advice, our staff are set up to work from home where possible and our office remains open and manned to ensure that we continue to provide a full service.  We are ensuring the welfare of those still in the office by introducing social distancing measures across our teams. 

Our Unit Linked Investment Funds (for POIS branded plans)

Please rest assured that our expert internal Investment Management team, alongside our external investment managers, AXA IM, are constantly monitoring the situation.  It’s important to remember our savings products offer long-term investments, and that whilst events such as the current pandemic can have a short-term impact, these often do not affect the long term picture. Our team of experts will continue to work in your best interests to support your savings goals during this time of global uncertainty.

Our With Profits Fund (for Foresters Friendly Society branded plans)

We are providing regular updates on the performance of our With Profits Order Insurance Fund, which you can view on our website here.   Please rest assured that our expert internal Investment Management team alongside our external investment managers, AXA IM, are constantly monitoring the situation and our Investment Committee are making decisions on all of our funds’ assets to navigate the turbulence to the best of our ability.  We are reducing the impact to our underlying asset values  through implementing  de-risking strategies. Our funds still benefit from a diverse asset mix including Gilts, UK Treasury Bills and Corporate Bonds as well as Property and SME loan funds.  These other assets have performed well during this difficult period and we believe will give protection to asset values at a time of global uncertainty. 

Member benefits

Our member benefits continue to be offered as normal with the exception of those provided via face to face contact – the Help at Home service provided by our partner, Redarc, and our social activities arranged by our branch (Court) network. 

Following a review of the Help at Home service and the potential risks that it may pose to members, the decision has been taken to suspend arranging any new support, with immediate effect. RedArc have made this decision as they do not believe it will be in the best interest of members having strangers coming into their home and potentially exposing them to the virus.

If support via Help at Home is already in progress or being arranged, RedArc will continue to provide care, but will make the member aware of the potential risks.

Foresters Care remains largely unaffected, however, with RedArc staff currently working from home, there may be a slight delay with hard copy communications. Where possible, all correspondence will be sent via email.

RedArc are monitoring the situation and we will continue to update our website when anything changes.

Social events

We have advised our branch (Court) network to cease all social activity during this uncertain period which we know will be difficult for some members.  We are acting in the best interests of our members and will advise when this position changes, in keeping with government advice.

How you can keep up to date

Please do check our website when you can as this is where we will publish updates when they become available.  And, please rest assured that as your mutual society, we will do our utmost to ensure we put you, and our staff who provide you with the service you have come to expect, first at all times.

Wishing you all the very best in these uncertain times,

Rachel Hardy
Chief Executive