The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced it is abolishing annual registration fees for societies – saving organisations up to £495 per year.
It is also scrapping the £12 charge for accessing records on the online Mutuals Register.
The move, which will mean an estimated saving of £1m for the sector, has been championed by Co-operatives UK, which led calls to abolish the fees and encouraged societies to respond to the FCA’s consultation on the issue.
“The FCA Mutuals Team deserves a lot of credit for all this,” said a Co-operatives UK spokesperson, “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.
“It’s great example of how, working together, we can push for change to benefit the sector overall.”
The regulator has also launched a new online portal for registering and filing as a society, and has made improvements to its registration and AR30 forms in line with Co-operatives UK recommendations. 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,” said Co-operatives UK secretary general, Ed Mayo.
“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 £1m per year.”