Plans announced for strengthened regulation of Syndicates and Racing Clubs

Press release from the  British Horseracing Authority

  • Measures are designed to support public confidence in Syndicates and Racing Clubs and provide a solid foundation for the continued growth of shared ownership.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is today publishing plans to strengthen the regulation of shared racehorse ownership following an industry-wide consultation completed in the autumn of 2020.

The consultation, which formed part of one of the nine key goals for British racing’s recovery plan, examined the current risks and opportunities of shared ownership and how they might be addressed through enhanced regulation and improved administration.

The industry plan for shared ownership, which has been developed through consideration of the consultation feedback and further engagement with stakeholders, details 10 key measures to be introduced as part of a phased implementation plan over the next 12 months. These can be read in full in the Notes to Editors below.

The measures are designed to support public confidence in Syndicates and Racing Clubs and provide a solid foundation for the continued growth of shared ownership.

Key measures within the plans include strengthening the existing Code of Conduct for Syndicates, which was originally introduced in February 2017. The Code requires that all Syndicates which advertise publicly or charge a management fee must provide Syndicate members with a contract that covers specified areas.

These areas will be extended in addition to the BHA increasing its auditing of these contracts. As part of the registration process, and then through on-going spot-checks, the BHA will annually review a proportion of contracts to ensure and monitor compliance with the Code. A Code of Conduct will also be introduced for Racing Clubs.

The BHA will also require that Syndicators disclose the percentage shares held by each member of the Syndicate. Syndicate members will be able to view their own recorded shareholdings through the BHA’s Racing Administration system from early 2022.

The plans also build on the existing regulation of shared ownerships which already includes the registration of all individuals who wish to manage, promote or administer a Syndicate or Racing Club. Further information will be sought as part of the registration process to better understand the financial arrangements of each entity and, in the case of a Syndicate receiving a significant amount of prize-money, Syndicators will be asked to outline how and when this will be paid to Syndicate members.

Plans will be developed and tested with Syndicators and Club Managers, which will help ensure the processes and systems that support implementation of the measures are effective, facilitate BHA regulation and simplify ownership administration.

Throughout implementation, each phase will be communicated in advance to all stakeholders with clear lead in times, in addition to help and support for Syndicators and Club Managers in understanding and adapting to the changes.

Richard Wayman, BHA Chief Operating Officer, said: “It is vital for the future of our sport that we are able to attract and retain racehorse owners. Syndicates and Racing Clubs clearly have a pivotal role to play in those efforts.

“The consultation responses confirmed that the sport has many extremely well-run Syndicates and Racing Clubs who give their members exemplary levels of service. It is crucial that the public can continue to have confidence in Syndicates and Racing Clubs, which these measures have been designed to support.

“My thanks go to all of those who took part in the consultation and took the time to offer the feedback which has been central in devising this important package of measures.”

Charlie Liverton, Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) Chief Executive, said: “Racehorse owners contribute over £30m a month to the rural economy and whether they are sole owners, in a Partnership with friends and family, or part of a Syndicate, their retention is critical to the future of the sport.

“Shared ownership in horse racing is thriving across many racing jurisdictions and ensuring that those joining a Syndicate or Racing Club have confidence in our sport is crucial. The ROA recognises this consultation as an important piece of work to build public confidence and join what is the greatest thrill – ownership of a racehorse.”

Dan Abraham, Racehorse Syndicates Association (RSA) Chairman, said: “The consultation conducted by the BHA confirms the outstanding ownership experience available to members of Syndicates and Clubs.

“The BHA’s review and strengthening of the regulations related to shared ownership should even further enhance the public’s confidence. The appeal of Syndicates and Clubs is stronger than ever and the RSA welcomes the BHA’s approach to provide increased protection for members as well as Syndicators and Club Managers.”