The Utmost Group is committed to making a positive difference. Our mission is to secure our customers’ financial futures through the delivery of life and pension solutions, which result in greater prosperity for present and future generations.
Our responsibility to our customers combines with a sense of responsibility in all our corporate actions to the environment, to our employees and to the wider society in which we operate in order to maximise the positive impacts we can create. As well as being an overall positive for society, this also makes business sense in keeping with our long-term vision.
Our sustainability strategy is defined along four pillars, which are underpinned by policies and targets across the Group, recognising that sustainable business encompasses a range of topics.
An important aspect is in providing good customer outcomes. We seek to communicate transparently with our customers, provide customer service excellence and our proposition is continually assessed to ensure suitable outcomes.
Additionally, we recognise the importance of our role as a long-term allocator of capital. Sustainable investing is a key issue facing our industry and wider society, and an important factor to our customers when allocating funds. The Group takes its responsibility seriously and is committed to taking a pro-active approach to sustainable investing.
Utmost International Isle of Man Limited, our Isle of Man office is proud to partner with UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man. UNESCO is the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
Perhaps the best-known of UNESCO’s programmes is World Heritage Sites. Biosphere reserves exist under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.
The Isle of Man was awarded UNESCO status as a world biosphere region – the first entire country in the world to gain this prestigious accolade.
In order to become a Biosphere, a location must have two key features: people and a special environment.
The three central platforms of the Biosphere programme, globally, are sustainable development, conservation and education.
As a partner, Utmost International Isle of Man Limited has taken the ‘biosphere pledge’ and has outlined how they will contribute to Biosphere Isle of Man. To find more about the pledge and UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man you can visit their website – https://www.biosphere.im/partners
Our Group was founded on the belief that all stakeholders are better served as part of an active and growing franchise. The provision of good customer outcomes remains front and centre of our strategy. Our overall purpose is to build a brighter future for our customers and better serve all stakeholders.
Our mission is to secure our customers’ financial futures through the delivery of life and pension solutions, which result in greater prosperity for present and future generations.
In order to support our mission of providing good customer outcomes, Utmost Group:
- Provides products which are suitable for customers across each socio-economic group
- Continually develops our proposition in order to provide suitable outcomes to our customers
- Provides excellent customer service and communicates openly and honestly with customers
- Supports customers with the provision of data which helps them understand the ESG scores of their investments. Utmost Group is actively working to provide additional sustainable investment options to our customers
Projected population ageing in our society has far-reaching implications including an increased requirement for individuals to provide for their own retirement. Our business is particularly sensitive to the relevance, needs and consequences of an ageing global population and our solutions help support individuals in saving for their own retirement.
Our responsibility to our customers stretches throughout their lifetimes and in some cases through multiple generations. The provision of good customer outcomes is front and centre of our strategy. We look to provide excellent customer service at every stage of the customer journey. All our servicing is performed in-house so that we can maintain our high standards and controls and our customer service teams are continually focused on maintaining customer service excellence.
Our employees are committed to providing excellent levels of service through clear communications and ensuring our staff are appropriately trained and engaged to support our customers. Given the demographics of our client base, our staff are specially trained in dealing with vulnerable customers in order that they are treated appropriately and with empathy.
Client confidence in our business is recognised through strong new business figures and high customer retention rates.
The Group recognises the importance of its role as a long-term allocator of capital and considers Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors as part of its investment activity. Sustainable investing is a key issue in our industry and facing wider society, as well as an important factor to our customers when allocating funds. The Group takes its responsibility seriously. Utmost Group aims to make sustainable investment decisions and considers the sustainability impact of its investment decisions on clients, partners, employees and the wider society in which we operate.
The Group is committed to taking a pro-active approach to sustainable investing. The Group is undergoing an exercise to evolve our Responsible Investment framework. Our first area of focus is our shareholder assets and our managed fund ranges. The Group monitors the ESG scores of its shareholder assets and has introduced targets to maintain the measurable ESG risk within our portfolios below a set maximum level. The Group has also introduced Standards around its guided architecture range managing which funds are eligible for inclusion based on their measurable ESG risk. The Group is working to provide additional sustainable investment options to our customers.
The Group aspires to:
- Increase the proportion of our investments in sustainable assets
- Provide increased sustainable investment options to our customers
- Align our investment portfolio with the beliefs of our stakeholders on sustainability
Responsible investing is a rapidly evolving area with new regulations being developed and customer and societal expectations increasing over time. Our strategic approach to sustainable investing will be regularly reviewed in line with the Group’s sustainability vision.
The Group has a responsibility to reduce its environmental impact and to protect the environment. Our business and our employees take this responsibility seriously.
As an insurance business, our environmental impact is lower than other industries. Nonetheless, Utmost Group is committed to reducing and minimising the environmental impact of our operations and embedding a sustainable mindset into our corporate philosophy.
Our Carbon Footprint
Our business has delivered various initiatives in order to lower the carbon footprint of our offices. These include enabling our employees to reduce their impact on the environment, for example through encouraging the “reduce, reuse, recycle” philosophy and discouraging the use of single-use plastics. As a business operating across locations, we encourage the use of virtual meeting software, and the Group offsets the carbon footprint of our employees’ business travel.
The Group is also working with Carbon Footprint Limited to achieve a net zero carbon status in our operations. Through a Tree Buddying Scheme we have been able to achieve this by planting a tree for our 960 employees. For each tree planted a tonne of carbon is offset through Carbon Footprint Limited’s VCS project, protecting trees in the Brazilian Amazon through avoided deforestation. So not one but two biodiversity’s benefit from this great scheme. Find out more here.
As an asset owner of c £40bn of assets under administration, our approach to managing investments can have a positive impact on the environment. The Group takes a pro-active approach to sustainable investing and is embedding a responsible investment approach throughout our portfolio. We are introducing a target to maintain a minimum average ESG score across our shareholder asset portfolio and are working to provide additional sustainable investment options to our customers.
Our Supply Chain
Within our supply chain, we look to work with select organisations which operate in line with our corporate philosophy and help us deliver our long-term vision. We promote the use of recycled materials and look to evaluate the environmental impact of any products we source as well as considering how they are disposed of in order to reduce our environmental impact.
We continue to take committed action to reduce our environmental impact. As the business continues to grow, we continue to identify ways to work more efficiently and reduce our impact further.
The Group is undertaking an exercise to identify areas where we can reduce our environmental impact and promote environmental awareness to our employees with a view to having a net zero carbon emissions operational footprint within 5 years.
Utmost Group aims to make a positive difference to our employees, our customers and our communities.
Our employees are core to the success of the Group, both individually and collectively. It is an important priority of the Group that our employees enjoy a diverse and vibrant work environment which ensures they are fulfilled and committed.
An important focus is embedding our culture and values across our business. We want each employee to embrace our value of collaboration to make a positive difference, approaching their work with a motivated attitude. We want to create an environment where our people can achieve their aspirations and reach their full potential.
It is important we are viewed as an attractive place to work and sustain an environment where we can continue to attract and retain the best talent. Our HR teams actively encourage internal mobility of our existing employees to offer career opportunities which enhance their skills and experience, as well as external hiring to enrich our skillset and provide fresh perspectives.
The Utmost Group is an accredited Living Wage Employer in the UK, ensuring a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work. Our commitment not only applies to our directly employed staff in the UK but also our third party contracted staff, which ensures that they will be paid a real living wage as a minimum. The real living wage is significantly higher than the UK minimum wage for over 23s and takes into account everyday living needs. More information can be found about our commitment and the Living Wage Foundation here.
Our Group values are set out here: http://utmostgroup.co.uk/about-us/our-values/
Diversity and Inclusion
Utmost Group is committed to promoting equality and diversity. Our culture values difference and looks to our employees to embody our ethos of making a positive impact. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity for our employees and continue to select, recruit, train and promote the best candidates based on suitability for the role.
We look to develop diversity throughout our organization. One metric for measuring this is our gender split, which is monitored by the Board. Currently 55% of our employees are female and 45% are male. The Group has a 5 year strategy to:
- Increase diverse representation
- Strengthen our leadership focus on diversity and inclusion
- Ensure equal opportunities for progression and development for all
We treat all employees and applicants equally and recognise people from every background and experience bring valuable insights to the workplace and enhance our organisation. Discrimination has no place at Utmost Group and we engage with our employees, our partners and our local communities to promote equality and inclusivity.
Utmost Group is passionate about having a positive impact not only on the lives of our employees, but also on the communities in which we operate. Local initiatives include fundraising events for local charities selected by local staff, donation matching schemes and the availability of community support leave to help local organisations.
Our businesses support local sporting events and clubs. Utmost Limited sponsors the Isle of Man Swimming Association and has provided funding for the Isle of Man junior cycling team. Utmost Worldwide sponsors the Guernsey Team for the biennial International Island Games, and Utmost PanEurope sponsors Navan Rugby Football Club, a local Irish rugby union club offering opportunities to both junior and adult players. We believe it is important to support our local sports teams and are proud to be able to contribute to their success.
The Utmost Challenge is an exciting part of our community engagement programme. The Group has set up the Utmost Challenge to support our employees’ charitable giving, help us engage with the communities we work in and contribute towards them. Employees can apply for a donation to their chosen charity. To be selected for a donation, the employee must complete an outstanding challenge. The challenges which are selected are highly notable and have a significant “wow” factor i.e. the “utmost” achievement in their field.