New reg-tech knocks down barriers to forming a co-op

  • Legal advice embedded in one tool so co-op start-ups can choose between for-profit and not-for-profit financial models
  • BCCM developed the reg-tech for the federally funded Farming Together Program

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) has developed two new applications to its reg-tech constitution builder, so would-be co-ops can create correct legal governance structures for the three financial models used by co-ops – distributing, non-distributing, and non-distributing with shares. The BCCM developed the constitution builder for the federally funded Farming Together program.

“BCCM’s experienced industry associates have been delivering expert technology solutions for co-operative development since 2016, and this latest application rounds out our reg-tech co-operative governance tools,” said BCCM CEO Melina Morrison.

The technology solution underpinning the new constitution builder for non-distributing co-ops uses specialised co-operative legal advice.

“For all States and Territories, there is a set of model rules that we worked from,” explained Ms Morrison. “Queensland has a separate set. We created multiple choice options for the simple rules, and open text boxes for more complex areas where State rules meant the answers would be different.”

The tech upgrade includes sample rules and forms for the Co-op Builder, which creates the legal documents required to set up a co-operative in Australia. The Constitution Builder prepares rules for a commercial co-operative. The Disclosure Statement Builder is a co-op version of a prospectus for potential members and investors and is only needed for distributing co-ops.

“The BCCM is committed to ensuring all Australians have access to correct co-operative governance structures, and we are proud to work with our sector experts to develop these reg-tech tools with the federally funded Farming Together program,” said Ms Morrison. “Since 2013, BCCM has been creating a solid bank of resources and services for setting up and running co-operatives. Developing technology to share these was a logical next step.

“We’ve built longevity into the development,” said Ms Morrison. “Because it is based on model rules under national regulations, any changes over the jurisdictions can be updated accordingly within the builders. Co-operatives will be able to use this as it is based on model rules under national regulations meaning we can monitor any changes fairly simply over the jurisdictions and update the builders accordingly.”

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