New Cooperative Act in Finland - Major and fundamental changes

Report
New Cooperative Act in Finland
- Major and fundamental changes,
and their impact in practice
Jarmo Hanninen, Coop Finland
NORDIC COOPERATIVE NETWORK CONFERENCE
OPEN SEMINAR: THE NORDIC CO-OPERATIVE MODEL
Reykjavík, Iceland – March 21, 2014
Long tradition of cooperative
legislation
• First Cooperative Act 1901
• Since then only two major changes: 1954 and 2001
• Special characteristic is that cooperative is a
special, registered organisation form: cooperative
• Basic features have been the same over 110 years,
until now
• Based on cooperative principles, and mandatory
stipulations guarantee this
• The purpose of a coop was to serve members’
needs
Harmonizing with Limited Liability
Companies Act
• Earlier acts were parallel to cooperative
principles
• The new act (1.1.2014-) follows the structure
and content of Limited Liability Companies Act
• New legislation doesn’t steer cooperatives to
follow cooperative principles
• Cooperation depends totally on the will of the
members: the rules (by-laws) of the
cooperative
Critics and possibilities
• Introducing the possibility to use stocks in coop’s
capital has raised debate how to maintain
cooperative identity
• There are doubts about the feature that even only
one person (due to equal right to trade!) can
establish and run a coop
• Positive outcome is that implementing the act
cooperatively requires strong emphasis and
knowledge on the special characteristics of
cooperation
• This is a challenge for cooperative organisations
and advisors

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