2013: A watershed year in the increase in awareness of the benefits of mutuality

Friday, 13 December 2013

For us at PPS the ICMIF conference that was held in Cape Town, South Africa from 6-8 November 2013 was the culmination of a process that started in 2011 when we started communicating more intensively and directly about the benefits of being a member of a mutual, and sharing the profits of such an enterprise. When I wrote the article that appears in the current issue of Voice magazine (Voice 77 November 2013) we were in the final stages of planning the conference, but from the time that the event started with the joint ICA/ICMIF dinner, it was clear that a platform had been created in South Africa that will still benefit us for years to come.

We ended up hosting 280 delegates from 47 countries at the 2013 Conference, and I believe that at the recent meeting of the Intelligence Committee in Dubai it was revealed that this was the best-rated ICMIF conference ever, across a range of factors.  PPS appreciated the opportunity of being your country host for the 2013 conference, we all made many new friends!  The mutual network has really extended into Africa, and it was such a pleasure to meet so many delegates from Africa. Members’ willingness to share best practices and offer help was truly surprising.

Shaun Tarbuck and his team are doing their job in taking forward the major agenda issues of the conference, suffice it to say that the issue of communicating the benefits of our unique business model will remain high on our agenda at PPS, and we will be engaging the ICMIF team on that. As I said at the conference PPS will be tracking research into social media and how to speak to the youth more effectively about our business model. This is something which is clearly on all of our agendas and something that ICMIF’s Intelligence Committee will discuss further during 2014.

Mutuality is a more conscious and responsible form of capitalism, as we have seen post the events of 2007.  We do not have hedge funds or rating agencies to impress, we have to deliver real and sustainable returns to our members, a far simpler and more responsible goal.  Our sense is that, when the youth market catches on to this, it could trigger a few interesting trends in terms of new members!

Every year when I look back at the achievements of PPS during the year, it makes me proud that we have served our increasing number of members so well, in fact very few of our members ever leave us.  The ICMIF Conference was truly a watershed event for us as South Africans, and we received excellent media coverage, that has created increased interest in PPS and our value proposition.

I am excited about being elected to the board of the ICMIF and look forward to giving input at this level, and to ensure greater PPS input to the ICMIF, which is an inspirational organisation under the leadership of Shaun Tarbuck.  I also look forward to working with the new Chair of the ICMIF, Anders Sundström.

In closing:

You will surely all have heard that Nelson Mandela has died.  As South Africans we feel that we have lost our father in Madiba.  I have met Madiba and he has made an incredible and lasting impression on me. Madiba gave new meaning to the concept of ubuntu, which is an ancient word meaning humanity to others – “I am what I am because of who we all are”.  I wish you all a happy festive season, let’s do our best to keep Madiba’s spirit of ubuntu alive, in our business and personal lives, and also in 2014.

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