Agreement to assign windfalls to charity
For some time, the Society's service to customers had been disrupted by the activities of new investors speculating on the Society's future. As a result of this, from 1st March 2000, we decided to introduce measures to discourage such activities and to allow us to return to our normal high standard of service. These measures allow the Society to reduce the minimum opening and operating balance for new investors which it had been necessary to introduce. This enables the Society to provide a better service to all genuine investors.
Q. What are the procedures?
A. From 1st March 2000, the Society required new investors opening share accounts to agree to assign any potential windfall benefits to a charity (currently the Skipton Building Society Charitable Foundation), unless they fall into one of the categories of investor who is not affected by this change.
Q. Will everyone who opens a share investment account be affected?
A. The Agreement to Assign will not apply to you:
if you have held shares in the Society (other than Permanent Interest Bearing Shares ('PIBS')) at all times since 29th February 2000; or
if you have already entered into an agreement in either the same or similar terms with the Society and you have held shares in the Society (other than PIBS) at all times since doing so; or
if you are, in respect of the account which you are about to open, in one of the groups of people the Society has decided should be exempt. Further details of these groups of people are set out below in Q./A.10.
Q. What is the Skipton Building Society Charitable Foundation?
A. The Skipton Building Society Charitable Foundation is an organisation which has been registered as a charity with the Charity Commission. The Foundation will donate money to various charitable causes at the discretion of its Trustees. It is independent of the Society, with a majority of independent Trustees.
Q. What is a windfall?
A. This is a benefit which takes the form of a distribution to certain classes of members arising if there is a transfer of the Society's business to a bank or other company on a take-over or conversion.
Q. What is meant by assigning windfall benefits?
A. An individual who applies for an investment share account on or after 1st March 2000 will become a shareholding member. The Agreement to Assign is contained in the Application Form. If the Agreement to Assign applies to you this means that in the event of a transfer of the Society's business to a bank or other company announced within 5 years of that account being opened, any potential windfall which you may be entitled to receive as a Shareholding member will automatically pass to the benefit of a charity (currently the Skipton Building Society Charitable Foundation).
Q. I already have an investment Share account, how am I affected?
A. If you wish to open a new or additional investment share account, you must sign an Application Form in the usual way. However, the Agreement to Assign windfalls contained in that Application Form will not apply to you if you fall within any of the categories of persons described in Q./A.2
Q. I already have an investment Deposit (not Share) account, how does this affect me?
A. If you wish to open a share account, you must complete the Application Form in the usual way and you will be bound by the Agreement to Assign windfalls contained in that Application Form unless you fall within any of the categories of persons described in Q./A.2. The Agreement to Assign only affects persons who are opening share accounts on or after 1st March 2000. If you are opening a new deposit account, the Agreement to Assign windfalls will not apply to you.
Q. I was a member of Scarborough Building Society and became a member of Skipton Building Society at the point of the merger (on 30 March 2009) between Scarborough Building Society and that of Skipton Building Society. Do I have to sign another document assigning windfalls to charity?
A. Members of Scarborough Building Society who have already signed a windfall assignment document, for that Society, do not have to sign another document, on the behalf of Skipton, as the original document remains valid as the membership of customers is classed as being continuous.
Q. I have a mortgage with the Society, how does this affect me?
A. In relation to that mortgage, you will be a borrowing member. Any Agreement to Assign windfalls will apply only to windfalls which members are entitled to in their capacity as shareholding members and will not apply to windfalls which new or existing borrowing members receive in their capacity as borrowing members. So, if you wish to open a share account, you must complete the Application Form in the usual way and you will be bound by the Agreement to Assign any windfall as a Shareholding member contained in that Application Form unless you fall within any of the categories of persons in Q./A.2. Your rights as a borrowing member will be unaffected.
Q. For how long am I bound by an Agreement to Assign windfalls?
A. You will be bound by the Agreement to Assign windfalls in the event of a transfer of the Society's business to a bank or other company announced within 5 years of the date the account you are opening is opened. You may be bound for a shorter period if you are in one of the groups of people the Society has decided do not need to agree to the usual 5 year period.
Q. What other groups of people are exempt?
A. There are special concessions for some Trustees, Trustees for Clubs or Unincorporated Associations, Executors/Administrators and a number of other people.
Q. Does this mean that the Society is planning to convert?
A. No. The Society strongly believes that our members are best served by retaining our mutual status and independence which has benefited members and customers for more than 150 years.
These measures have been taken to ensure that the Society can provide a high quality service to our customers, by discouraging the disruptive actions of speculative investors who only seek to profit from a conversion or take-over.
Whether or not a charitable assignment declaration has been signed there could be a circumstance where windfall payments may potentially be generated as the Charitable Assignment is only invoked if we change our status i.e. become a bank; not if we merge into another Society.
Skipton Building Society still continues to welcome genuine customers who appreciate the long term value of investing with a Building Society.