New Code of Conduct provides greater protection and transparency for growing Syndicate ownership market

22 Feb 2017 Grassroots Integrity

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced the launch of a Syndicate Code of Conduct to promote transparency and ensure that syndicate members are better protected and informed when entering into syndicate ownership. 

The Code, which is a response to the continued growth of syndication, does not define the way that syndicates should operate, but highlights a number of basic requirements that all syndicators will need to ensure are met. It will be the first time the Rules of Racing will include specific protection for syndicate members and it is hoped this will improve the confidence of prospective and existing owners in the syndicate market.

The requirements stipulated by the Code include the provision of a syndicate agreement in which details relating to the duration and costs of the syndicate are all outlined along with how decisions should be made and when financial statements will be circulated. In addition, as part of the the new syndicate ownership, it will also become a requirement that all syndicators will need to become registered owners in their own right ensuring that they are subject to the Rules of Racing.

The full Syndicate Code of Conduct can be found here.

The Code will be incorporated into the Rules of Racing when the modernised registration structures are introduced in spring. These new structures, part of a package of reforms set to simplify the administration of racehorse ownership, will reduce the number of ownership types to five and, for the first time, accommodate the registration of syndicates.

The Syndicate Code of Conduct is one of many changes set to improve racehorse ownership in 2017 and will support the industry’s promotion of syndication. Led by Great British Racing, syndicate ownership recently received a boost with the launch of In The Paddock, a new website that allows owners to search for syndicates and racing clubs to suit them, by location, code and cost. Following being incorporated within the Rules of Racing, all syndicates wishing to appear on In The Paddock will be required to adhere to the Code of Conduct.

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said: 

“As syndication continues to grow it is vital that structures are in place to protect and build confidence among both new and existing syndicate members. The recent National Racehorse Owners Survey highlighted that syndicates were a common place for many people to start their ownership journey and, if the sport is to better retain racehorse owners, it is crucial that everyone joining syndicates understand how their ownership will operate.

“Transparency is the key and that is what the Code has been introduced to encourage. While many syndicates will already adhere to the Code, syndicators are recommended to review their syndicate agreements as soon as possible in case any amendments are required.”

The Code will apply to all ownership entities registered as a syndicate and, where the syndicator is paid for their role and/or the entity was formed through a public offering.

Following the Code being included in the Rules of Racing, syndicators will have a three month grace period before they will be required to fully comply. The BHA would, however, encourage all syndicators to consider if any changes are necessary as soon as possible to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Code.

Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said: 

“The results of the National Racehorse Owners Survey reinforced how many people start their ownership journey in a syndicate, and the Code of Conduct will form a vital set of rules helping to protect all parties. Understanding how a syndicate operates, and having a verified agreement in place, will ensure that those looking to join a syndicate have greater transparency and clarification of relevant information before joining the wonderful experience that comes with racehorse ownership.” 

Rod Street, Chief Executive of Great British Racing, said:

“Syndicates and racing clubs are a brilliant way for people to take their first steps into the excitement racehorse ownership and the In The Paddock website has been created to make it easier for people to find out more. Ultimately, syndicates work in a competitive leisure industry and so we welcome the introduction of the Code of Conduct which provides racing’s customers with greater transparency and information before getting involved.” 

Dan Abraham, Chairman of the Racehorse Syndicates Association, Said:

“As syndicates grow in popularity, the Code of Conduct will assist in providing protection for their members, many of whom are making their first venture into ownership. New members in particular are often unsure what questions to ask a syndicator and the Code will provide confidence and transparency to anyone joining a syndicate, especially for the first time. The Code of Conduct supports the In The Paddock initiative and the work of the Racehorse Syndicates Association to enhance the ownership experience for syndicate members.”

Notes to editors:

1. More information about the Strategy for Growth can be found here.

2. More information on the modernisation of registration structures and the upcoming ownership reforms can be found here.

3. In The Paddock is a unique online platform offering visitors the chance to search and compare shared racehorse ownership organisations based in the UK. For more information please click here.

4. A detailed FAQ document can be found here.