Our culture and ethics: living by mutual values

Our values both define who we are and serve as guideposts to help us maintain our high levels of professional and ethical standards.

We take the long view

In a world of instant access and immediate gratification, we have the courage to be different. We know success doesn't happen overnight—it happens by making the right choices over time.

We do what's right

To us, doing what's right means a commitment to ethics and doing what's right for our clients. We help them make the right financial choices for their lives and goals.

A business of trust

Northwestern Mutual employees having a meeting in the Milwaukee tower.

Northwestern Mutual is and always has been in the business of trust. Everyone from board members to managers and employees are expected to follow our Guidelines for Business Conduct. These Guidelines address conflicts of interest (including gift and entertainment policy), proper use of company funds, fair dealing in connection with company operations (including a policy against use of inside and non-public information), reporting requirements and accountability for non-compliance, and disclosure procedures.

Everyone has a responsibility to promptly report conduct that is unethical, improper, illegal or otherwise in violation of the Guidelines to appropriate persons responsible for their department, our general counsel, or the Ethics Resource Center. The Ethics Resource Center is a confidential internal resource set up to discuss questions or concerns, report possible misconduct or file a complaint regarding any ethical, legal or accounting issues arising at Northwestern Mutual.

Northwestern Mutual employees having a meeting in the Milwaukee tower.

A diversity of leadership

The Northwestern Mutual Board of Trustees, elected by our policyowners, has oversight of management actions in running the company. Apart from the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, all Trustees are independent members who are not part of company management. The Board also elects a lead non-management Trustee who helps set the Board's agenda. The Board elects the Chief Executive Officer and other senior officers responsible for managing the company.

Our Corporate Governance Guidelines expressly state that "Diversity of thought, as well as of gender, ethnic background and geographic origin, are important considerations in assessing the overall make-up of the Board."

The current Board includes residents of ten states, representing all regions of the U.S., four members who identify as African-American, two as Hispanic/Latino, one as Asian-American, and two members who identify as LGBT.

Meet our leaders

Involving clients in corporate governance

Policyowners examining committee members.

2021 Policyowner' Examining Committee

Our corporate governance includes a feature unique to Northwestern Mutual—the Policyowners' Examining Committee (POEC). Each year our Board of Trustees appoints the committee. The committee consists of not more than six nor less than three individuals who are either current insurance policy or deferred annuity holders or named insureds under one or more insurance policies issued by the company or a subsidiary.

The committee is tasked with evaluating company efforts in any area they wish and to make suggestions for improvement. The results of the committee's review are published each year in the Northwestern Mutual Annual Report. In addition, the committee's report is shared with the Board of Trustees, and the committee chair meets with the Board to present the committee's findings and recommendations as well as to answer questions the Trustees may have.

Policyowners examining committee members.

2021 Policyowner' Examining Committee

Safeguarding your assets, privacy, and data

We have a strong risk management culture vigilant in identifying and managing risks. We take the security of your information very seriously, using a multi-layered approach that includes cybersecurity, administrative, and physical controls to make sure your personal information is protected.

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