This is my Response to the FCA’s June Consultation on their revision of their 2014 draft Guidelines on the registration of Co-ops and Community Benefit societies.
As Cliff Mills and David Alcock have pointed out in the Co-op News, it is a big improvement. It should ease the legitimate worries of those who felt the original was too strict (e.g. the energy “co-operatives”) without allowing bodies just offering investors a big return without any concern for co-operative member-controlled trade or a community’s benefit to use the privileges enjoyed by co-operatives and community benefit societies.
As Jo Bird of CBC points out in her comment to the online article and CBC point out in their submission to Co-operatives UK, the FCA does not address the problem of the use of the name “Co-operative” by businesses no longer in co-operative ownership or with any co-operative structure. They use the name on the basis of owning intellectual property rights to the “brand”. The ICA’s marque seems to be the only way forward on that one…..
We’ll have to see how the FCA approach works out over the next months and years……..
Ian Snaith 2015