The registration and regulation of friendly societies
Produced in partnership with John Gilbert of Hogan Lovells International LLP
The registration and regulation of friendly societies

The following Insurance & Reinsurance practice note Produced in partnership with John Gilbert of Hogan Lovells International LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The registration and regulation of friendly societies
  • What is a friendly society?
  • Registration under the Friendly Societies Act 1974
  • Registration and incorporation under the Friendly Societies Act 1992
  • The FCA's role as registrar
  • Societies’ obligations regarding registration with the FCA
  • Annual reporting requirements for a friendly society
  • The purposes of a friendly society
  • Friendly societies that provide insurance
  • Prudential regulation of friendly societies by the PRA
  • More...

What is a friendly society?

There has been a system of registration, and with it regulation, of friendly societies since the enactment of the first Friendly Societies Act in 1793. Two Friendly Societies Acts are currently in force, those of 1974 (Friendly Societies Act 1974 (FSA 1974)) and 1992 (Friendly Societies Act 1992 (FSA 1992)). Until the FSA 1992, all friendly societies were unincorporated associations of individual members. While unincorporated societies can continue to exist, all the larger societies have now become bodies corporate under the FSA 1992 and any new societies must be formed as incorporated societies.

Friendly societies are a form of mutual society and are voluntary associations of individuals subscribing for benefits that are provident in nature (ie benefits which prepare for future needs). Nowadays all friendly societies must include among the benefits they provide one of the permitted activities listed in the FSA 1992, Sch 2 but may also carry on social or benevolent activities and various miscellaneous activities.

A friendly society may be:

  1. registered under the FSA 1974 as an unincorporated association of individuals (a 'registered friendly society'),

  2. incorporated and registered under the FSA 1992 (an 'incorporated friendly society'), or

  3. unregistered

Unlike registered friendly societies or incorporated friendly societies, unregistered friendly societies are not capable of meeting the threshold conditions for the grant of permission by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) under

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