FG15/12: Guidance on the FCA’s registration function under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014

In October 2014 we announced a consultation process on guidance on our registration function under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. This was followed up by further consultation in June 2015.

Our finalised guidance brings together the existing series of information notes and the results of our extensive consultation with stakeholders.

Our role as registering authority is different and separate from our role as a financial services regulator. Companies House is the registering authority for companies and we are the registering authority for societies.

We want this guidance to help societies and their advisors by making our approach clear and transparent.

This is ‘general guidance’. This means that it explains our policy and suggests some ways to comply with it. It also clearly explains the current rights and responsibilities of societies under the Act. It is aimed at a wide audience, including society officers and members. General guidance sets out one way, but not the only way, of meeting legal requirements. Our guidance document is not legal advice and societies should seek their own legal advice.

Summary of findings

Our consultations have shown that there was a need to collate all of our existing guidance and make the content understandable to the general public, not just professional advisors. Respondents noted the challenges this presented, particularly given the technical nature of some of the subject matter. 

The guidance explains how we approach our role as the registering authority, our policy, certain processes under the Act and how we apply society law in our role as registering authority. It may help people:

  • setting up a society
  • on the board of a society
  • advising a society

The guidance will be of interest to:

  • co-operative societies
  • community benefit societies
  • pre-commencement societies (societies previously known as ‘industrial and provident societies’). In this document we refer to all registered societies simply as ‘societies’

Finalised Guidance 15/12 [PDF]

Summary of feedback received

We received a high level of constructive engagement from respondents and appreciate the time societies, members and their representatives spent reviewing our proposed guidance.

The summary of feedback received collates responses to our consultation paper (CP14/22) and guidance consultation (GC15/4) and our own responses to that feedback.

FG15/12 Summary of feedback received [PDF]

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