Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1 Why should I become a shareholder?
We believe it is important that as many members of the community as possible participate in this venture. Not only do all new share subscriptions provide the society with useful capital to improve and develop the business, but they also extend the level of democratic participation in the society. Quite simply, the more members we have, the more of a community pub we become.
2 Are there limits to how much I can invest?
The minimum investment is £250 and the maximum is £20,000. Each share costs £50.
3 If I invest do I take on any other liability?
No. Your liability is limited to your investment.
4 Are there restrictions to becoming members?
Members must be aged 18 or above. There is no requirement to be a resident of Bentley and we welcome investors from the wider community and further afield.
5 Is there a difference between being a member and a shareholder?
There is no difference between being a shareholder and a member. The purchase of the minimum subscription automatically confers membership.
6 What voting rights would I have?
All members have one vote, regardless of how many shares they own. This is an underlying concept of the Industrial & Provident Society structure.
7 Can my investment increase in value?
No. Shares in the society can never be worth more than their nominal face value. However, the membership may vote to pay interest on the loan represented by your shareholding, at a level that is capped at the Bank of England Base Rate plus 3%. It is unlikely that we will make enough money in at least the first year of trading to enable this to happen.
8 Can I sell my shares?
Shares in the society cannot be sold. They are a special sort of share known as ‘Community Shares’ and the only way you can recover their value is to apply to the Society to withdraw any shares you own.
9 How can I get back my money?
You must hold your shares for a minimum period of five years after which time you can apply for your shares to be withdrawn. The management committee will determine, based on the liquidity of the society at the time, the extent to which shares can be withdrawn.
10 How does the share offer work and what guarantees do I have for my investment?
The company has been established as an Industrial & Provident Society for the benefit of the community. It operates on the basis of ‘one member, one vote’. This should be viewed as a long-term investment for community benefit. It is not the same as investments made in ‘for profit’ enterprises where investors hope to share in success through both dividends and capital appreciation. Whilst the shares in the society will pay interest, the underlying value of the shares cannot increase and could be reduced in the unlikely event that liabilities exceed assets.
11 Who will benefit from this venture?
The whole community of Bentley. It is our aim to make the pub the focal point of our village. Losing the pub would almost certainly see a decrease in residential property prices – it is in every Bentley householder’s interest to keep the pub open.
12. Will the society be viable?
Based on our assessment, coupled with that of a professional team, we believe the income from the sale of beer and food will comfortably support the business model which we propose and will provide a surplus for contingencies.
13. Who is organizing this? Do they have a personal interest in the pub?
The management committee currently comprises of these passionate volunteer directors – David Westley, Peter Cross, Nicky Moxey, Gail Nye, Nigel Cliffe, Christine Feltwell, Gill Pink and Angela Bamford. They have the same financial interest in the society as all other investors.
14. How is the pub run?
The management committee, which is drawn from and elected by, the members, acts as a board of directors, taking major decisions on behalf of the membership and monitoring the progress and development of the business. Staff, who report to the management committee, are employed to manage the pub on a day-to-day basis. The management committee also co-ordinate the pub’s volunteers and act as a channel for feedback from members and customers.
15. What happens if the society fails?
If the unlikely event that the society fails, all the assets would be sold and the proceeds of the sale would be used to repay any debt (e.g. mortgage). Thereafter, shareholders would be repaid and any remaining surplus would be put to community use. The assets of the society include The Case building and its surrounding land.