Perhaps the two most stale and fuddy-duddy words a company can choose in its name are "Old" and "Mutual". This isn’t my view, but one expressed in numerous marketing books. Even though it is no longer a mutual society (because it has shareholders) Old Mutual decided to keep the name after listing in 1999. At the time it was the most highly respected financial institution in SA.

But now it is a poor second to Sanlam, and even Momentum Metropolitan has a better reputation for creativity in product development and building partnerships. Many shareholders hoped that Mutual would be reinvigorated when it unbundled its overseas empire and focused on its home market...

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