'Industrial and Provident Societies' under the 1965 Act are replaced by 'Registered Societies,' of which the new Act recognises two forms:
- Cooperative Societies; and
- Community Benefit Societies
Societies registered under the previous regime are not required to change their names or indeed their own rules, though it is recommended that references to the old regime are replaced when they do come to make a rule change. Societies registered after 1 August 2014 must be referred to by one of the above names.
The new regime brings changes in several areas. Of particular importance are the new rules governing the winding up of Registered Societies.
The 2014 Act essentially imports the winding up procedure for companies and applies it to Registered Societies. A Registered Society can now pass a resolution for its own winding up (via an Instrument of Dissolution), or indeed be put into compulsory liquidation following a winding up petition. The process is identical to that for companies, although the FCA stands in for Companies House as registrar of the relevant documents. It should be noted that the new provisions in respect of administration, CVAs and schemes of arrangement do not apply to societies that provide social housing.
More generally, the FCA will continue to act as regulator of Registered Societies, and will have extensive powers to inspect and investigate the finances and practices of a Registered Society.