Wesleyan Assurance Society is a financial services company that provides advice and products to select professional groups - notably GPs, hospital doctors, dentists, teachers and lawyers.
The Society was founded in Birmingham back in 1841 and its head office remains in the city centre - based at Colmore Circus.
The mutual has £6 billion of assets under management and reported an operating profit of £40.3 million in 2014.
Wesleyan was established in Birmingham during the early years of Queen Victoria's reign. It was founded in 1841 by members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church to help people overcome financial problems brought on by the first industrial revolution. The Society began offering life assurance on a nationwide scale in 1855 and continued to grow in the late 1800s.
In 1914 The Wesleyan & General Assurance Society Act was granted, giving the Society a corporate identity of its own and allowing it more investment freedom. The Society was also a subscriber to the Government and allies' War Loan funds during the Great War, and in February a single cheque for £250,000 was drawn for this purpose. To celebrate the end of the war, the Government issued Victory Bond policies and the Wesleyan & General bought Bonds amounting to £3/4 million.
Following the outbreak of World War II, the Chief Office basement and other buildings owned by the Society were converted into air raid shelters, with a local first aid HQ established in the basement toilets. According to the Glasgow Herald, the society also applied for £50,000 of National War Bonds in June 1940.
In 1991 the Society celebrated its 150th anniversary and moved into its current Head Office at Colmore Circus, Birmingham. A special limited edition Anniversary Bond was also launched offering customers a guaranteed return with no risks.
1993 saw the launch of Wesleyan Savings Bank, while 1997 saw a merger with the Medical Sickness Society take place. The merger enabled the society to reach many more Doctors and Dentists, a position further strengthened with the acquisition of the Professional Affinity Group Services (PAGS) in 2002.
Wesleyan selected Birmingham Children's Hospital as its chosen charity in 2014 and raised £250,000 in twelve months, thus becoming their biggest corporate sponsor In 2015, they were the main sponsors of The Big Bandage for the third year running and agreed to extend their relationship with the hospital until the end of 2016.
The Wesleyan Head Office building is one of the most well-known buildings in Birmingham thanks to its unusual cruciform shape and its large double pyramid shaped roof. The building was constructed by Peter Hing & Jones between 1988 and 1991. The society makes use of one half of the building for its staff, while the other half is leased by the society to Pinsent Masons until at least 2017.
The building itself is clad in artificial pink granite which the Pevsner Guide for Birmingham says is, "angled between floors, like the legs of a huge insect." The name "Wesleyan" is displayed across the pyramid-shaped upper region.
According to an article in the Midlands Business News, "Intelligent lift technology has trebled the energy efficiency of Birmingham's iconic Wesleyan Assurance Society Building and reduced its annual carbon emissions".
Each professional group is served by Financial Consultants who work only within their segment. Wesleyan is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority.
Wesleyan provides financial products and services for medical and dental professionals, and represents 60% of UK doctors. It also offers advice to teachers around the Teachers Pension Scheme as well as retirement planning, mortgages and investments. The society is also an approved partner of NASUWT.
Wesleyan provide financial advice to lawyers. This includes those still at law school and senior partners. In December 2014 it was announced that half a billion pounds has been lent to law firms by the society since 2010.