1The FCA has certain functions in relation to what are described as “registrant-only” mutual societies. These societies are not regulated or supervised under the Act. Instead, they are subject to the provisions of IPSA65, FIPSA68, FSA74 and FSA92, which require them to register with the FCA and fulfil certain other obligations, such as the requirement to submit annual returns.
- cancel or suspend the society’s registration (ss.16 and 17 IPSA65, s.91 FSA74);
- dissolve the society (ss.95 and 95A FSA74);
- appoint an accountant or actuary to inspect the society’s books (s.47 IPSA65);
- require the production of documents and provision of information for certain purposes (s.48 IPSA65, s.90 FSA74);
- appoint inspectors and call special meetings (s.49 IPSA65, s.90 FSA74);
- present petitions for winding up (s.56 IPSA65; ss.22 and 52 FSA92); and
- prosecute failures to comply with requirements (s.61 IPSA65, s.18 FIPSA68 s.98 FSA74).
1The FCA's enforcement activities in respect of registrant-only societies focus on prosecuting societies that fail to submit annual returns. As registrant-only societies are not subject to the rules imposed by the Act and by the FCA Handbook, the requirement that they submit annual returns provides an important check that the interests and investments of members, potential members, creditors and other interested parties are being safeguarded. The power to prosecute registrant-only societies who fail to meet this requirement is therefore an important tool and one which the FCA is committed to using in appropriate cases.
1The FCA considers a variety of factors when deciding whether to prosecute a society for failing to submit its annual return. The FCA is more likely to prosecute a society which has previously failed to submit returns, or which poses a greater risk to the FCA's statutory objectives, for example, because of the size of its financial resources or its number of members.
1The decision whether to initiate criminal and other proceedings under these Acts will be taken in accordance with the procedure described in EG 12.1.7. Under section 18 IPSA65, a society may appeal certain decisions of the FCA relating to the refusal, cancellation or suspension of a society’s registration to the High Court or, in Scotland, the Court of Session. Refusals to register a branch or to register the amendment of a society’s rules and cancellations or suspensions of a society’s listing under the Friendly Societies Act 1974 are also appealable in certain circumstance to the High Court or the Court in Sessions. Distinguishing features of the procedure for giving statutory notices under the FSA92, including available rights of reference to the Tribunal, are set out in DEPP 2.5.18G.