Withdrawable Share Capital ("WSC")
At the 2006 Annual General Meeting, members approved the transition of MUST's Phoenix Fund accounts from ordinary deposits to withdrawable share capital ("WSC"), a change that was required by Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulations. While it sounds complex, WSC is pretty easy to understand.

Any money you put into the Phoenix Fund remains in your name. You can withdraw it, and you earn interest on it.


Withdrawable share capital (WSC) is a special kind of capital allowed only for Industrial & Provident Societies (now Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies) like MUST. It allows MUST to take deposits from members without being something called 'an authorised person' under the FSA rules. As we mentioned above it’s YOUR money under YOUR ownership.

The main difference between WSC and, say, a current account is that as Share Capital, we can invest our funds in selected MUST projects.

Now, of course, we must remain prudent. We envisage that most of the WSC funds will remain in secure deposit accounts. And there are both laws and MUST Rules, approved by members, that forbid us from taking undue risks with the WSC funds. The Board and Committee take this matter very seriously and we have our own money in the Fund as well.

As future projects arise, the Board will consult and inform members, and ask for their approval where possible. But, of course, if you don't like what's being proposed and would prefer your funds not be committed, you can simply withdraw your funds (hence 'withdrawable' share capital).

Here are some other key details of the new Rules relating to WSC:

One pound (£1) out of the annual membership fee of each new or renewing member goes towards his or her WSC account
Each full member must keep a minimum of £1.00 in that account while a full member
Only individual persons can hold WSC, not companies
However much WSC you have in your account, you still only have one vote
You can keep your WSC account even if you have not renewed your full membership and you can still withdraw it simply by writing to us.

Members can increase the size of their WSC account at any time – subject to a maximum limit set by law (currently set at £100,000)

Interest is payable annually on your WSC, at the rate which is declared after the end of each year by the Trust Board, subject to a maximum of whichever is the higher of 5% or 2% above the Co-op Bank base rate.

Withdrawals carry a withdrawal administration fee of (currently) £5.00

Members wishing to withdraw all or part of their capital have to give 3 months notice.  This is in place in order to preserve capital, prevent a ‘run’ and ensure orderly withdrawals. So you should consider your account like a 90-day postal account with a building society, rather than an instant access account. However, the Trust Board has discretion to shorten the notice period and will generally exercise this discretion, for example, in cases of individual need or hardship

We draw this to your attention because the rules do state that where a member has not renewed for over two years and still has capital in his or her WSC account, the Trust Board has discretion to cancel that member’s shares on giving at least 2 months notice to the member, and if no objection is raised by the member.  In this case, the sums standing to the account of that member can be forfeited to the Trust’s general funds.  Such a cancellation has never been carried out but the power has to remain in the rules to deal with possible exceptional and/or unforeseeable circumstances.

If you have any questions about Withdrawable Share Capital, please open a ticket on our Help Desk (response within 24-48 hours usually).