How to deal with registered contact applications if you're an ISA manager.
The registered contact
There can only be one registered contact at any time. The registered contact is the only person who can give instructions to the provider on management of the investments in the JISA. The registered contact should also be issued with any statements or correspondence relating to the JISA. All correspondence should be addressed to the registered contact so that he/she is properly in a position to manage the JISA.
The registered contact must be a person aged 16 or over. Who is entitled to be registered contact will depend upon the age of the child holding the account, if the child holding the account is:
- under 16 only a person who has parental responsibility for the child can be the registered contact
- aged between 16 and 18 they can become the registered contact, but must make an application to do so in the normal way - in the absence of any such application, an existing registered contact can continue in that role
In all circumstances, the person who applies for the JISA will be the first registered contact, and the required declaration and authorisation are to be contained in the application form. This applies regardless of whether the applicant was the child themselves (who must be 16 or over to be the applicant) or someone with parental responsibility. At account opening, the applicant should not be asked to complete a separate form to be the registered contact.
Where the JISA manager becomes aware that the registered contact for an account no longer has parental responsibility for the child, no further instructions can be taken from this person and the manager must wait until a fresh registered contact application is made.
Applying to be the registered contact
During the lifetime of a Junior ISA, the role of registered contact can be passed to another person who has parental responsibility, subject to the application procedure described below. In most circumstances, subject to the exceptions detailed below, registered contact status can only be passed with the consent of the existing registered contact.
If a child is between 16 and 18 years of age, they can become the registered contact for their account at any time, and without the consent of an existing registered contact (subject to an exception for children lacking mental capacity or suffering mental disorder). Once the child account holder has assumed registered contact status, this cannot be passed to another person (unless the child later lacks mental capacity or suffers from mental disorder).
An application for registered contact status has effect only from the date on which it is accepted as complete and correct by the account manager, and where appropriate, once the consent of the existing registered contact has been obtained.
Written application to be the registered contact
An application to be the registered contact (including an application made as part of the account opening application) must contain the following:
- applicant’s title (if any) and full name (see personal information) - for looked after children the applicant may be The Share Foundation
- applicant’s address, including postcode, where the applicant is The Share foundation this will be the address of their registered office
- child’s title (if any), and full name (see personal information)
- child’s address, including postcode, where the applicant is The Share foundation this will be the address of their registered office
- child’s date of birth
- child’s National Insurance number (if they are aged over 16 and they have one)
Providers may use the wording in the specimen form in JISA subscriptions.
Applicants must make a declaration that the information given in the application is correct. The following declaration will satisfy the requirements of the regulations.
“I declare that, I am 16 years of age or over. I am the child/have parental responsibility for the child (delete which does not apply). I will be the registered contact for the JISA (where the application is not in writing) and I authorise the JISA provider to record the terms of this declaration in a written declaration made on my behalf”
Declarations must also contain an agreement by the applicant to the JISA terms and conditions, and the applicant’s signature.
An account manager may accept information provided in a declaration at face value, but registered contact status should not be passed to an applicant if the account manager believes that any declaration is incorrect.
Applications for registered contact status must include certain authorities. The following will satisfy the requirements of the regulations:
“I authorise (provider’s name) to hold the child’s subscriptions, JISA investments, interest, dividends and any other rights or proceeds in respect of those investments and cash, and to make on the child’s behalf any claims to relief from tax in respect of JISA investments.”
(If the JISA is a cash JISA invested in a deposit account, alternative wording could be used, such as ‘to hold my cash subscriptions and any interest earned on those subscriptions’.)
This authority continues until it is replaced by a change in registered contact, or transfer to another provider. If the existing registered contact ceases to be the registered contact, the previously given authority continues until replaced as part of a new application for registered contact status.
Non-written applications to be the registered contact
Where an application and declaration is made other than in writing, for example, by telephone, email or fax, or orally, the applicant is required to provide the same information, make the same declaration and provide the same authority and other information as for a written application. The applicant’s signature is not required.
On receipt of the application, the provider must make a written declaration on behalf of the applicant and notify the applicant of its contents. Notification can be given in several ways:
- the declaration can be read back to the applicant over the phone (model telephone application script refers)
- in face to face contact
- a copy of the declaration can be sent via email or the internet
- a copy of the declaration can be faxed or sent by post
Imaging registered contact applications
Registered contact applications can be imaged and retained in exactly the same way as applications to open the JISA see guidance at imaging application forms and written declarations.
Change of registered contact
The consent of the existing registered contact is not needed, and should not be requested, where the applicant for registered contact status is the account holder who is 16 years or older, or in the following cases:
- on the death or incapacity of the existing registered contact
- where the existing registered contact lacks capacity
- where the existing registered contact cannot be contacted
- where a Court order brings to an end the existing registered contact being a person with parental responsibility for the child
- where a Court has appointed a Guardian or a Special Guardian of the child who holds the JISA
- where a Court has appointed a Guardian or a Special Guardian of the child who holds the JISA
- where a Court orders that the person who is the existing registered contact cease to be so
- where the new registered contact has adopted the child under an adoption order
Outside of these exceptions, the consent of an existing registered contact is needed to relinquish their status before another person can take over the role. Without that consent there cannot be a change, the confirmation need not be in writing, and account managers can obtain this consent by any means they consider appropriate.
In the case of death, incapacity or replacement by court order, of the current registered contact, providers should satisfy themselves, either by sight of suitable documentation, or from other evidence they hold, that this is so.
Where the existing registered contact is The Share Foundation, their consent to another person is needed except where:
- the applicant to be the registered contact is the account holder who is 16 years of age or older
- a Court so orders
A JISA account cannot be operated under a Power of Attorney for the registered contact.
For practical purposes a provider can assume that contact has been lost with a registered contact when they have not received any communication from the registered contact within the previous 12 months, and an item of post has been returned unread.
When the child reaches 16 they can be the registered contact, subject to the normal application process, and an exception for children lacking mental capacity or suffering mental disorder, see overview of the junior ISA. Agreement of the existing registered contact is not required. Once an account holder has assumed registered contact status for their account, this status cannot be passed to any other person.
Where an account holder aged over 16 does not apply for registered contact status, or lacks mental capacity or is suffering mental incapacity, the existing registered contact can continue in this role. In these circumstances, registered contact status can still be passed in the normal way to another person with parental responsibility for the account holder.
An account provider should manage the process of obtaining the agreement of an existing registered contact to the transfer of this status according to their own procedures. If a provider is contacted by a person wishing to become the registered contact for a JISA, and that person asks the provider for details of the existing registered contact, the provider is strongly advised not to release this information.
Where an adoptive parent tells the provider that they want to become the registered contact, the provider must not give any details about the existing registered contact or seek the agreement of the existing registered contact to the change. Once the provider is satisfied that the applicant has adopted the child, the provider must update the details held on their systems immediately to ensure that in these very sensitive cases any correspondence only goes to the correct contact.
Where The Share Foundation is the registered contact, the provider should advise the applicant to contact the Local Authority so that the correct procedure for transferring the registered contact role can be followed.