William Franklin is a chartered accountant and share scheme adviser, and partner and founder of Pett, Franklin & Co LLP.
In what ways does employee share ownership serve a useful purpose?
It can help to bridge the divide between labour and capital and encourage more productive and equitable businesses and societies
How can we widen and deepen the adoption and use of employee share ownership?
We need to encourage share schemes among smaller UK listed companies and private equity backed companies.
What would you tell someone who is ‘on the fence’ about introducing employee share ownership to their company?
You are right to be cautious. Share schemes are not a panacea. Nothing is. But it is worth giving it a real try.
What do you think will change about employee share ownership over the next five years?
The start of a convergence between pensions and employee share schemes.
What do you wish other people knew about employee share ownership?
That its use of EBTs is benign and not abusive.
What has been the most important development in employee share ownership during your career?
Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI)
Which change to employee share plans legislation, in the UK or elsewhere, would you most like to see?
Easier and more tax efficient buybacks being permitted for employee owned shares in unquoted companies.
Why do you think employee share ownership has enjoyed cross-party support in the UK?
All politicians who seek the achieve change through democracy are concerned by the division between labour and capital and are looking for solutions.
Who would be the guest of honour at your fantasy dinner party?
Henry Wallace – 33rd Vice President of the USA
Which book has most changed your life?
“Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman”
What is your favourite quote and why?
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little”. Why? FDR’s challenge to himself in the middle of the Great Depression is also a challenge to us all and just as relevant today as it was in 1937.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
How do you relax?