New licence for syndicates and racing clubs to support more proactive regulation of shared ownership

13 June 2024

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced the introduction of a new licence for racehorse syndicators and racing club managers, which aims to further strengthen the regulation of shared ownership.
The new licence is part of wider efforts to promote the continued growth of shared ownership, by giving members increased confidence in how syndicates and racing clubs are managed and regulated.
Its introduction follows an extensive period of engagement with stakeholders, including an industry-wide consultation, to ensure that the regulation keeps pace with the increasing appeal of syndicate and racing club membership.
The licence will apply to anyone wishing to manage a syndicate or racing club that advertises publicly or that they are paid to administer. This includes licensed trainers who run their own syndicate or racing club.  
Existing syndicators and club managers will be required to have a valid licence in place by 1 January 2026, while anyone applying to set up a new syndicate or racing club after 1 January 2025 will need to ensure they have already been granted a licence.
The BHA has already contacted syndicators and club managers to help ensure the new licence is introduced as smoothly as possible, with step-by-step guidance to support the application process. Ongoing assistance will also be available via the BHA’s ownership team.
The new licensing process builds on the existing registration and regulatory requirements, ensuring that the minimum standards expected by the BHA are clear, understood and met by anyone with financial responsibility for a syndicate or racing club.
It will allow the BHA to evaluate applications more thoroughly, assessing key areas such as business competence and an understanding of how to properly advertise and promote shared ownership.
Through the application process, the BHA can also offer applicants additional support and more consistent guidance, with increased clarity about the role of a syndicator or racing club manager and the requirements placed on them under the Rules of Racing.
The licence does not seek to interfere with the commercial business or stipulate how a shared ownership entity should be run, as long as it meets the requirements of the licence.
The BHA is grateful to the Horseracing Betting Levy Board for supporting the introduction of the new licencing process as part of its wider contribution to British racing’s regulatory and integrity functions.
Louise Norman, interim Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said: 
“We welcome the BHA’s introduction of a new licence for syndicators and racing club managers. This initiative is a significant step forward in ensuring the integrity and transparency of shared ownership in British racing. By establishing clear standards and providing thorough oversight, the new licensing process will not only protect current members but also attract new participants to our sport with greater confidence.

"The Racehorse Owners Association fully supports this proactive approach to regulation, which will help sustain the growth and appeal of syndicates and racing clubs for years to come.”

Harry Williams, BHA Head of Participant Services, said: 
“The continued growth of shared ownership is a key part of racing’s long-term sustainable future, with syndicates and racing clubs giving more people the chance to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership in an affordable and enjoyable way.
“The vast majority of syndicates and racing clubs are operated to the very highest standards, but inevitably as the number of people involved in setting up, running and promoting them continues to rise, so do the associated regulatory challenges.
“By introducing this new licence, the BHA can take a more proactive approach to managing emerging risks and maintain consistent standards across the board. This will not only provide greater clarity for syndicators and club managers about their role and responsibilities, but also help maintain trust in shared ownership by ensuring those involved feel confident that they are sufficiently protected and supported.
“This is an important step forward as we look to retain racehorse owners here in Britain and attract the next generation”.
Chairman of the Racehorse Syndicates Association, Dan Abraham, said:
 "The Racehorse Syndicates Association are delighted to support the introduction of a license for syndicators and racing club managers. The initiative provides clarity on minimum standards and an opportunity for the BHA to assess the competence of those who run commercial syndicates and clubs. In addition, it provides further confidence to anyone getting involved with well-run syndicates and racing clubs."
Any person or corporate body wishing to act as a syndicator or club manager will need to ensure they are licensed. The definitions of a syndicate and racing club are as follows:

  • SYNDICATE: A form of shared ownership where the Members own, or lease, an interest in racehorses and the Syndicator receives remuneration for their role and/or the method of attracting participation in the entity includes invitations to the public.
  • RACING CLUB: An entertainment associated with racehorses, where the Members acquire no ownership rights to, or lease an interest in, any racehorses but may acquire certain benefits such as the sharing of prize money.
More information about the licensing process is available on the shared ownership page of the BHA website.

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