Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with funds under management of £114 billion, 8.8 million policies in force and 3,893 employees.

The company has been a mutual society for 158 years – resisting a wave of demutualisations in the 1990s – and this fact, says Deputy Group Chief Executive and Group Finance Director Tim Harris, has become an important differentiator over the past decade.

“For 30 years, the mutual was declining as a model, but after the financial crisis we found that more and more people were looking for a different kind of provider, with a stronger social core,” he says. “Just being an organisation that’s owned by the people it serves is a source of disruption that is helping us grow quite significantly.”

And Harris adds that the trend towards a more ethical and sustainable approach to business is gathering steam. 

“The emphasis on the environmental, social and governance issues is unquestionably growing among investors.

“We are getting far more deliberate in the way we're approaching the ESG agenda and I would anticipate this trend increasing quite significantly over the course of next year.”

On the role of the C-suite, Harris says the key is to try and filter out the ‘noise’. 

“The role of senior leaders is to step back and see the big picture. The aim is to avoid everyone getting caught in a profound sense of urgency that can make a business too short term and reactive in its thinking."