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Withdrawable shares

Buying withdrawable shares makes you a member of the business and puts you at its heart.

Withdrawable shares are mostly offered by co-operatives and Community Benefit Societies. They offer you a fair rate of interest whilst putting your money to use for the benefit of the community or the environment. The co-operative is able to generate income from your money whilst tackling disadvantage or providing new services such as renewable energy.

Sometimes, the community that benefits is based abroad. For example, Oikocredit helps the world’s poor to build better lives for themselves by supporting grassroots partners that offer small loans; closer to home, Ekopia invests in sustainable regeneration projects in Findhorn Eco-village and the surrounding community.

Your investment also gives you the right to one vote, no matter how many shares you hold.

The returns

Shares in a co-operative offer you interest, although this is largely dependent on the success of the business. The value of your shares usually does not change.

You can usually ask for your money back at any time, although there are likely to be restrictions. Ethex tells you what these restrictions are, and you should consider them carefully.

While some withdrawable shares offer a reasonable financial return, the benefits may also come from building a stronger local community: saving your village shop or pub from closure preserves a valuable local service and can also support house prices; a local property development can provide better facilities and also improve the look of the area; and renewable energy on the school roof can save on both carbon and electricity costs.

Many community schemes also offer investors a reduction on their services and invitations to shareholder events.

You can find out more about the process of buying and selling withdrawable shares here

Products offering withdrawable shares can be found under equity investments here

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