Dentists’ Provident was started by dentists over a hundred years ago as a membership organisation to protect each other from the financial consequences of illness or injury. We have been part of the profession ever since, working together to support dental professionals, with our highly flexible plans which are designed to be as individual as they are. We are still owned and run by our members who are at the heart of everything we do. We are there when they need us, from university to retirement and beyond.

The principles of good governance and accountability have always been an integral part of our business. We take enormous pride in our reputation for honesty, integrity, and fairness in how we conduct our day to day business. 

Corporate governance compliance statement

In 2019, the board decided to end the society’s membership of the Association of Financial Mutuals. As a result, the society is no longer be required to report against the AFM corporate Governance code and free to choose the most appropriate governance reporting framework.

The board has considered whether to continue applying the AFM corporate governance code or choose from a number of other recognised codes, including the Wates Code, the Full UK Corporate Governance Code or the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) Corporate Governance Code.

After due consideration the board has decided to adopt the QCA Corporate Governance Code, interpreted in the context of a mutual company. The board believes that the QCA Corporate Governance Code best meets the reporting needs of our stakeholders having regard to the size and complexity of our business.

On behalf of the board of directors of Dentists’ Provident Society Limited (the Board), I am pleased to make this statement which sets out the Board’s approach to corporate governance. The Board recognises the importance of high standards of corporate governance and considers that the Company’s success is enhanced by a strong corporate governance framework. As Chairman of the Board, one of my responsibilities is to ensure that this framework is maintained.

The remainder of this section provides an explanation of how Dentists’ Provident applies the principles of the Code.

Further information on the Board’s corporate governance procedures can be found in the “About us” section of the website and in the Company’s Annual Report.

Establish a strategy and business model which promote long-term value for the members

Our strategy and business model is discussed, agreed and reviewed by the Board as a regular agenda item.

Since our inception in 1908, we have been fully committed to the not-for-profit mutual business structure. Being owned by our members, with no shareholders, allows us to focus on building a long term sustainable business, that places the interests of our membership ahead of others. Our strategy has always been to be the quality-focused income protection insurance provider of choice for dental professionals in the UK and Ireland. We do this through:

  • Providing our members with individualised and comprehensive insurance plans, which are flexible enough to remain fit for purpose throughout a dental professional’s career
  • Investing prudently and with a long term mindset to maximise the returns for our members and to improve the resilience of our finances
  • Employing a team of experienced and dedicated industry professionals to manage the day to day operation of the group
  • Taking a fair and disciplined approach to underwriting and claims management
  • Treating our members ethically, to build mutually beneficial long term relationships based on respect and trust
  • Distributing our proposition directly and through independent financial advisers using digital and traditional channels
  • Pricing our plans in a clear, sustainable and transparent manner
  • Effectively managing our cost base and key risks.

This has and continues to enable us to maximise the long term value we create for our members within the context of a mutual business model.

Further information regarding our strategy and business model is set out in the strategic report section of the group’s annual report.

Seek to understand and meet member needs and expectations

We regularly attend industry events to meet with members, prospective members, intermediaries and other dental industry participants to ensure we have a clear and up to date understanding of the needs to these important stakeholders.

Many of our directors have held senior positions within the profession and have been involved in the training and education of dental professionals. This gives our key decision makers a unique opportunity to look at the needs of our core market from the top-down and from the bottom-up.

All directors are members of the society. This also gives our board a direct connection with our plans and services and deeper insight into the needs and expectations of other members.

Our products, their suitability and relevance to our target market are also discussed regularly as part of the board’s discussions regarding strategy.

Take into account wider stakeholder and social responsibilities and their implications for long-term success

Our strategic focus on the long term means that in order to succeed, we need to recognise our responsibilities to a wider spectrum of stakeholders including staff, suppliers, our members and the wider dental profession. We endeavour treat our employees and conduct business ethically and fairly. We also give proper consideration to environmental, social and governance factors within our investment decision-making process.

We are a respected member of the dental community and we take an active interest in matters affecting the dental profession. We have and continue to be involved with charitable bodies involved in improving dental health and those involved in supporting members of the dental profession facing financial or health issues.

Embed effective risk management, considering both opportunities and threats, throughout the organisation

The principle risks, and plans to manage these, are set out in the Principal risks and uncertainties section of our annual report.

Our business is underpinned by a robust risk management framework. An effective risk management system allows us to allocate resources more efficiently. The key objectives of our risk management systems are to:

  • support decision making by providing timely and appropriate risk information
  • protect our solvency and financial position
  • protect and enhance our reputation

The ultimate oversight for risk management remains with the board. However, certain duties have been delegated to board committees, who provide regular updates to the board on activities that fall within their remit.

There are predefined risk appetites for all key risk areas and risk management policies and procedures are reviewed and updated regularly to reflect the environment within which we operate. Our risk identification and management process also ensures that all key risks are collated centrally and risk owners are clearly identified. The status of the risks is reviewed periodically and a structured reporting process is in place to communicate key risks and other relevant information to the board and its committees.

The day to day responsibility for risk management lies with the chief risk officer. The heads of departments are responsible for operational implementation of risk management policies and procedures and for reacting to new and emerging risks.

In addition, regular operational monitoring, augmented by internal audit and compliance reviews, provides assurance on the effectiveness of the control environment.

Maintain the board as a well-functioning, balanced team led by the chair

The board’s primary role is to oversee and direct the affairs of the group and to further the interests of our members, in accordance with relevant law and our memorandum and rules. The board meets at least four times a year and its responsibilities are set out in the board handbook, which also details the matters reserved specifically for it.

The main responsibilities of the board include:

  • approval and oversight of the group’s objectives and strategy
  • responsibility for the group’s overall structure and capital requirements
  • oversight of the group’s operations, including approval of annual budgets and plans
  • oversight of financial reporting, internal controls and risk and capital management
  • approval of any material transactions that affect the group
  • dialogue with key stakeholders
  • oversight of the corporate governance framework

The board comprises a non executive chairman, chief executive, two executive directors and six independent non executive directors.

In assessing the independence of directors, we take an objective view of a director’s tenure and we do not consider that after nine years non-executive directors automatically cease to be independent. The main threat to independence arises from conflicts of interest, financial dependence and over familiarity and the most effective way of ensuring independence of thought and action is by focusing on these risks. Each year, we assess the independence of each non executive director, against highly conservative benchmarks covering conflicts of interest, personal and professional connections and financial integrity.

The governance committee has considered the declarations by the non executive directors and has concluded that all non executive directors, with the exception of the chairman, remain independent. Giles Kidner was deemed to be independent until his appointment as chairman. However, in line with common practice, he is no longer classified as an independent non executive director.

The governance committee oversees the process of continued appointments. All directors are reappointed annually by our members, subject to the board being satisfied with their performance and commitment to the role. Over the years, the group has steadily reduced the maximum tenure of non executive directors and depending on the date of appointment, non executive directors must retire from the board at the age of 65 or after 15 or 9 years of service.

Ensure that between them the directors have the necessary up-to-date experience, skills and capabilities

We are committed to ensuring that we appoint and retain non executive directors who bring relevant experience and expertise, strategic and operational skills and insights required to drive the group forward.

We are scrupulous in ensuring that all our appointments are on merit. The Governance Committee ensures that new directors are selected through a robust recruitment process targeted at complementing the strengths of the board as a whole. We strive to ensure that our board represents the views and opinions of the different strands of the dental profession and that our discussions cover the widest range of thoughts, ideas and opinions. As a result, we do not consider that targets based on gender or ethnicity fit with our meritocratic principles, nor would such targets improve our governance framework.

We believe that keeping up to date with key business issues is vital for each director to improve and maintain their knowledge and skills so they are able to continue discharging their duties effectively. Therefore, we ensure that our non executive directors:

  • receive regular training in areas of significance
  • attend training courses covering their duties as directors
  • receive formal briefings by external experts during board meetings

In addition, as part of each director’s performance appraisal, they are given the opportunity to discuss any individual training and development needs. Each director is responsible for organising their individual training and for ensuring they remain up to date with the issues affecting the group and their responsibilities as a director.

The group also has procedures in place for directors to obtain additional independent expert professional advice at the group’s expense. No such advice was sought by any director in 2019.

The Directors’ biographies and skill sets are detailed in Annual Report and in the “About us” section of the website.

Evaluate Board Performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement

Every year, all directors undergo a formal appraisal covering their work on the board and any relevant committees. In addition, led by the chairmen, the various committees evaluate their own performance as a whole. The evaluation of executive directors is led by the chief executive and the vice chairman leads the evaluation of the chairman. The evaluation of all other directors, including the chief executive, is led by the chairman.

An externally facilitated review is also carried out by an independent expert every four years and the last such review was carried out in 2017. The reviews comprise each director completing a review form in respect of their roles on our board and committees. These forms are the basis of a confidential one to one meeting between the appraiser and the director. The form covers personal, committee and board performance and includes key areas such as strategy and planning, duties and responsibilities, board structure, performance monitoring and board culture.

The governance committee reviews the results of the annual and externally facilitated evaluation as a whole and these form the basis of the discussions by the board of its own performance. The committee chairmen are responsible for presenting a summary of committee related themes to other members of the committees and to the board.

The governance committee regularly discusses succession planning for all key individuals and these discussions take into account the skills and experience required now and in the future. Within this context, the periodic refreshment of the board is essential to avoid the risks of complacency, group think and perhaps most importantly losing touch with segments of our core market and over the years we have gradually reduced the maximum length of tenure to manage these risks.

Promote a corporate culture that is based on ethical values and behaviours

A strong product suite is only part of a successful strategy. We believe that treating our members, employees and other stakeholders with the same ethics, honesty and respect that we ourselves, as people, would expect, is a simple yet powerful differentiator of our business and one that has been, and continues to be, a key source of our long term competitive advantage. From the moment individuals engage with us, we treat each step as an opportunity to offer extraordinary service and ethical, honest and fair outcomes.

Conduct and corporate citizenship form key elements of the benchmark used to determine the discretionary bonus allocation for the employees. We recognise that conflicts of interests can be a risk to ethical behaviour and for mainly for this reason, the society eschews bonuses for executive directors. In addition, we have put the following processes in place to manage the risk of conflicts:

  • restrictions on bonus account transactions at certain times of the year
  • annual declarations by staff covering actual and potential conflicts
  • ongoing responsibility for staff to disclose immediately any changes in their circumstances, which may give rise to a conflict of interest
  • restriction on participating in any discussion or decision in which an individual has a material personal interest

The group’s performance against its ethical values and cultural norms is monitored by the board’s committees. The committee chairmen report on the work of the committees to the board as a whole on a quarterly basis.  

Maintain governance structures and processes that are fit for purpose and support good decision-making by the Board

We have a robust system for corporate governance throughout the group, with a clear division of responsibilities for those involved.

The chairman is responsible for ensuring we meet our overall governance standards, the leadership and management of the board, overseeing the induction, evaluation and ongoing development of directors and for maintaining an open and cooperative relationship with our members and other key stakeholders.

The vice chairman deputises for the chairman and supports him in the effective management of the board. The vice chairman also fulfils the role of the senior non executive director, serving as an important intermediary between the chairman, the rest of the board and our members.

The chief executive is responsible for developing the overall strategy, leadership of the management team and oversight of the day to day operations of the group.

The secretary is responsible for supporting the chairman in the effective operation of the board and the individual directors in discharging their duties effectively.

The board has established various committees to assist it in effectively fulfilling its governance responsibilities. Information on the role and work of these committees is detailed in our latest annual report and the “About us” section of the website.

Communicate how the company is governed and is performing by maintaining a dialogue with members and other relevant stakeholders

We report on our financial performance annually.

We are committed to maintaining an open dialogue with our members to raise understanding and awareness of our products, strategy and performance. We use the annual general meeting and industry events as the primary mechanism for doing this.

We encourage members to attend the annual general meeting and notice is sent at least 30 days in advance of the meeting. At the annual general meeting, separate resolutions are proposed on each substantive issue. When an issue has been determined at the meeting by a show of hands, the chairman confirms the number of proxy votes for and against the resolution. The chairmen of the board’s sub committees are also available to answer relevant questions at the annual general meeting.

Our website provides information about the group, including its current and past results and press releases.

The board’s responsibilities include agreement of strategic objectives, annual plans and targets, monitoring performance against key financial and non-financial objectives, approval of financial statements and key reserving and valuation assumptions, overseeing the systems for internal controls and risk management, setting standards in governance matters, review of the performance of the various committees of the board and authorisation of senior appointments.

The majority of our board of directors is made up of dental professionals. We believe this is important to represent our members in the best possible way. The themes that bind our board are a commitment to our membership, independent thought and shared responsibility.

 

      

Giles Kidner (54) - Chairman

Giles was appointed to the board in 2004 and as chairman in May 2019. He is also a director of 1908 Property Holdings Limited and a member of the governance committee, the investment and capital management committee and the remuneration committee. He has previously been the chairman of the audit committee.

He is a consultant orthodontist at Buckinghamshire Healthcare and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trusts and also works part time in private practice. He is lead orthodontist for the Spires regional cleft lip and palate service, Caldicott Guardian and an examiner for both the Intercollegiate Membership and Speciality Fellowship examinations in Orthodontics.

     
 

Farrukh Mirza (49) - Chief executive

Farrukh joined the society as head of finance in 1999. He was appointed as deputy chief executive in 2003 and to the board and as chief executive in 2008. As the group’s chief investment officer, he chairs the investment and capital management committee and is a director of 1908 Property Holdings Limited. After qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1995, he worked with Baker Tilly, BayernLB and PricewaterhouseCoopers, specialising in banking and insurance.

     
 

Davinderpal Kooner (65) - Vice chairman

Davinderpal was appointed as a non executive director in 2004 and as vice chairman in 2011. He is a member of the governance committee, the audit committee and the remuneration committee. Davinderpal is a fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy and chairman and member of the Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow Local Dental Committee. He is also a Justice of the Peace, non executive director of Dental Protection Limited and has general practices in West London.

He has worked extensively in the training of dentists and complementary professionals and is currently a trainer for DF1 scheme in South West London region. He examined for the National Examination Board for Dental Nurses and the Royal College of Surgeons of England for the MJDF Diploma of the Faculty of General Dental Practice. From 1997 to 2014, he was Regional Adviser in general dental practice and DF1 Vocational Training Programme Director for the London Deanery. He has also served as a professional member of the Fitness to Practise Panel of the General Dental Council, a General Commissioner of Income Taxes and as a member of the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal.

     
 

Simon Elliott (45) - Executive director

Simon was appointed to the board as an executive director in 2015 and has operational oversight of compliance and marketing teams. He is also a member of the investment and capital management committee and a director of 1908 Property Holdings Limited. Simon joined the society in 2007 after working for 11 years at Deloitte LLP in their actuarial practice, advising and working with friendly societies and insurance companies within the UK and Europe.

     
 

Martyn Green (66) - Independent non executive director

Martyn was appointed to the board in 2010. He is the chairman of the governance committee and a member of the operational risk and reputation committee. He is also on the Council of Reference for the dental charity Bridge2Aid, a member of the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal, a chair of the General Medical Council’s Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service and a member of the Probate Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Martyn is a dental member of the Statutory Panellist Assurance Committee of the General Dental Council and is retired from general practice.

He was previously a chair of the General Dental Council’s Fitness to Practise Panel. He has worked extensively in the training of newly qualified dentists, having been in various roles including Regional Adviser in general dental practice and Associate Postgraduate Dental Dean.

     
 

Jim Karim (53) – Independent non executive director

Jim was appointed to the board in 2017 and as chairman of the audit committee in May 2019. Jim is a chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience in the banking industry, working in various senior risk management roles. He is currently a Head of Risk for Liquidity and Banking Market Risk at a major UK bank, with responsibility for risk monitoring and control of the bank’s UK liquidity, asset and liability management, ALCO investments and pensions risks.

     
Kirby Mardle - Executive director and group secretary  

Kirby Mardle (35) - Executive director and group secretary

Kirby was appointed to the board in February 2019 and has operational oversight of the finance and member services teams. She joined the society in 2006 as a member services consultant. She later moved into the finance team and, following her qualification as a Chartered Certified Accountant, was appointed as head of finance in 2012. She is also the head of human resources.

     

Raj Rattan MBE - Independent non executive director

 

Raj Rattan MBE (63) - Independent non executive director

Raj was appointed to the board in May 2019. He combined his career in general dental practice with his role as Associate Dean at the London Deanery. He has been a policy adviser at the Department of Health and provided consultancy services to the NHS and the private and corporate sector. He has worked at Dental Protection for over 20 years where he was first appointed as a dento-legal adviser and is now Dental Director. He has been an examiner for the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners and has lectured extensively throughout the UK and overseas. He has written extensively about practice management, governance and risk management within the dental profession and was appointed MBE for services to dentistry in 2008.

     

Melanie Stern - Independent non executive director

 

Melanie Stern (57) - Independent non executive director

Melanie was appointed to the board in May 2019. Melanie is a consultant and honorary senior clinical lecturer in orthodontics at the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital and a lead cleft orthodontist for the Trent Regional Cleft Network. She also works part time in private practice.

Melanie teaches undergraduates, postgraduates and speciality trainees and is also an examiner for the University of Sheffield.

     

 

Alister Weightman (55) - Independent non executive director 

Alister was appointed to the board in 2011. He is the chairman of the operational risk and reputation committee and a member of the audit committee. He is a dental practice adviser for the Yorkshire and Humber Area Team of NHS England and has worked in general dental practice since 1987. He has been a clinical support manager for IDH Mydentist in the North East region, a past treasurer of the North Lincolnshire Local Dental Committee and dental practice adviser for Doncaster and North Lincolnshire Primary Care Trusts. He has also been a clinical assistant in orthodontics and a vocational trainer.

     
 

Huw Winstone (61) - Independent non executive director

Huw was appointed to the board in 2014. He was appointed to the operational risk and reputation committee and as chairman of the remuneration committee in February 2016. He has been in general dental practice since 1981 in North West Kent. He worked for over twenty five years in Dental Foundation Training, as a Vocational Training Adviser, Training Programme Director and an Associate Dean for Health Education England. Since 1996 he has been a dental adviser for the NHS and is currently Senior Dental Adviser for NHS England South East (Kent, Surrey & Sussex). He has been a member of the Kent Local Dental Committee since 1988, being treasurer for over twenty years.

Audit committee

The role of the audit committee is to assist the board on matters of financial reporting, risk management and internal control.Terms of reference 

Investment and capital management committee

The role of the investment and capital management committee is to assist the board in discharging its duty to effectively identify, assess and manage investment and capital management related risks. Terms of reference 

Governance committee

The role of the governance committee is to assist the board in discharging its duty in the area of corporate governance and enterprise risk management. Terms of reference

Operational risk and reputation committee

The role of the operational risk and reputation committee is to assist the board in discharging its duty in the area of operational, conduct and reputational risk management. Terms of reference

Remuneration committee

The role of the remuneration committee is to assist the board in discharging its duty in relation to the group’s remuneration related matters. Terms of reference

Our business is supported by a team of experienced professionals, with deep knowledge of the dental industry, insurance, investments, actuarial, risk management and finance.

 

 

Sarah Bradbury

Sarah joined the society as head of marketing and communications in 2013. She has worked in service marketing and public relations in education, leisure and the dental industry for over 25 years. She has previously worked for the British Dental Association as the student/young dentist manager, Dental Protection Limited as marketing operations manager and for Simplyhealth Professionals as strategic partnerships and brand manager.

     
 

Paul Dixon 

Paul joined the society as joint head of compliance and risk in 2015. Having initially trained as a barrister, he worked in practice for 10 years before moving into compliance in 2011. Experienced in both insurance and consumer credit, Paul received his postgraduate Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance through the International Compliance Association in 2015.

     
Alexandra Fisk  

Alexandra Fisk

Alex joined Dentists’ Provident in 2013 as part of the marketing team and was appointed as head of member services in 2018. Alex has almost 10 years’ experience in a variety of commercial businesses in both membership and marketing roles.

     
 

Bryan Gross

Bryan joined the society as a senior underwriter in 2008 and was appointed as head of underwriting in 2013. Bryan has a wealth of experience in the insurance industry covering a variety of roles, having previously worked at The Prudential and Gen Re.

     
 

Paul Roberts

Paul joined the society in 2006 as a claims assessor and was appointed head of claims in 2017. Paul has over 15 years' experience working in income protection, previously working for Unum and Legal & General.

     
 

Nikos Vlachos

Nikos joined the society in 2016 and was appointed as head of information systems in 2020. After completing his bachelor degree in Mathematics, he obtained post graduate degrees in Applied Mathematics and Information Technology. Before joining the society, Nikos worked in a variety of roles for more than 10 years across a range of industries.

     
           
             
     

Under the PRA rules and Solvency II regulations, we use Solvency II to calculate our capital requirements to determine solvency. These rules require us to publish an annual Solvency and Financial Condition report at the end of each financial year. This report gives a detailed summary of our performance, how we manage our business, the risks we are exposed to, how we manage these risks as well as information on our capital position.

Solvency and Financial Condition Report 2019

Engagement with the companies we invest in

The Revised Shareholders Rights Directive (SRD II) applies, amongst others, to insurers and imposes certain disclosure requirements on their engagement as investors in EU companies listed on a regulated market to encourage long-term stewardship.

The purpose is for large asset managers to have a policy to integrate shareholder engagement into the investment strategy for the funds they have under management. Such a policy should cover the long-term investment strategy of the asset manager, how it interacts with the other shareholders of the EU companies that it invests in, and how its casts its votes in the general meetings of such investee companies, among others.

Dentists’ Provident is a small mutual insurer with relatively modest assets under management, mostly in collective investment schemes. The shareholdings that these funds have in listed companies are well diversified and our share of each individual shareholding is insignificant in relation to the shares in issue of the companies that that the funds invest in.

Our investment mandate also permits us to make direct investments in securities. Again, our ability to engage with companies is limited due to the small size our holding.

For these reasons, Dentists’ Provident is of the opinion that it does not require an engagement policy under the Revised Shareholders Rights Directive.

Our values

The culture and ethos...

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Our history

Dentists’ Provident was founded in 1908...

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Timeline of key dates for Dentists' Provident

Key dates for Dentists' Provident...

 

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Dentists' Provident in numbers

Some key performance indicators for Dentists' Provident...

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News and blog

Guidance note for our members on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

09 July 2020

Claiming during the lockdown Our income protection plans are designed to cover our members if they su…

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A stressful profession

A stressful profession

02 September 2019

As a dental professional you are fully aware that pressure is part of the job and that those feelings …

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Supporting you in unprecedented times

Supporting you in unprecedented times

COVID-19 is having an extraordinary impact on all of our lives. At Dentists’ Provident we are doing all we can to equip our teams to be able to support our members in these uncertain times.