5.8 Applications by non-UK residents

With the advent of the internet and international payment systems such as PayPal, it is possible for any society that promotes a share offer through its website to attract applications from non-UK residents. 

Community engagement is central to community share offers. Many societies rely on the active involvement of members, not only as investors but also as customers, volunteers, supporters, employees and suppliers. It may be much harder to maintain the active engagement of members who reside outside the geographic community served by the society. On the other hand, people located anywhere in the world may have strong personal reasons for identifying with the community served by the society.

Unless the rules of a society state otherwise, there is no legal restriction on where a member of a society resides; applications by non-UK residents are allowable. But there may be laws in other countries that restrict or prevent individuals from directly investing in UK registered corporate entities.

The sale of withdrawable share capital in a society is exempt from UK money laundering regulations (see Section 7.3.6). However, a society may still want to satisfy itself that it is not receiving investments that are the proceeds of criminal or terrorist activities by carrying out identity checks on non-UK resident applicants. The identity of UK resident applications is usually secured by the bank, credit or debit card provider.

If you have any questions or suggestions for new information you would like to find in the Handbook, contact the team by email at communityshares@uk.coop