Graham Rowlands-Hempel is a consultant specialising in employee share plans and executive incentives.
Why did you enter your current profession?
I was taught A Level law by a retired judge. He told us some amazing stories which got me hooked. Originally I was a tax lawyer. It was at a time when share plans were just starting. It was an exciting new area full of promise and I thought it would offer me the best future.
What are the best features of your job?
Many years ago I put in place an SAYE on the flotation of a company’s shares on the London Stock Exchange. 5 years later all the staff (many of whom had been with the company from the start) made a profit over £50,000 each. It was great to be a part of that.
In what ways does employee share ownership serve a useful purpose?
I am convinced that if employees feel part of an organisation by owning the shares in the company they work for they will be more interested and better motivated leading to greater productivity.
How can we widen and deepen the adoption and use of employee share ownership?
Make the rules more simple, improve the tax benefits and give companies greater flexibility to use the type of plan that is right for them.
What is the greatest obstacle to wider and deeper employee share ownership?
Complexity and ignorance.
Which change to share plans regulation, in the UK or elsewhere, would you most like to see?
I would love to see the EU promote an annual tax free allowance for employee share ownership for all employees with little restrictions on how companies implement the arrangements.
What has been the most important development in employee share ownership during your career?
The introduction of SIPs.
Which book has most changed your life?
Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Which living person would you most like to meet?
What is your favourite sport?
How do you relax?
With my plants and Radio 4 in my greenhouse.