We are delighted that the FCA has responded to our calls to abolish the fee it charges the public to access society information on the online Mutuals Register.
It has also confirmed that it will scrap the annual registration fees it charges societies - a saving of up to £495 per society and an estimated saving of £1m for the sector overall, every year.
Around eighty societies responded to the FCA's consultation, providing strong evidence for the case we have argued - a great example of how, working together, we can push for change to benefit the sector overall.
In addition, the FCA has made improvements to its registration and AR30 forms, having been hugely receptive to our suggestions. With the FCA also launching an excellent new online portal for registering and filing as a society, great progress is now being made to making the society legal forms as user-friendly as they should be.
The FCA Mutuals Team deserves a lot of credit for all this. But we also know the pressure we’ve applied behind the scenes has helped make the business case for these changes inside the FCA bureaucracy.
Key benefits for societies are:
- Abolition of annual fees saving societies between £67 and £495 per year
- Free access to public records on the Mutuals Register online - abolishing the £12 fee per record it currently charges. This will make society data much more accessible to third parties, which will make it easier to enter into contracts, access finance and in some cases will save societies significant amounts of money
- A new online portal making it easier to register a society and to comply with registration year on year
- Improved registration and AR30 forms in line with our recommendations. For example, questions for co-operative societies now align with the ICA Definition and questions for community benefit societies make a clearer link between business activity and community benefit
"We warmly welcome the changes introduced by the FCA who were extremely receptive to our suggested improvements. This is a great example of how a strong and open relationship with an exemplary modern regulator can bring about positive results. We'd also like to say a huge thank you to our members who took the time to respond to the consultation to create the change that will save the sector an estimated £1 million per year."
Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK
The changes will come into force on 1 April.