Stephen Woodhouse is a partner at Pett Franklin
Owning shares in your employer creates a sense of joint interest. It makes people owners and allows a form of partnership for all employee shareholders and the wider investor group.
There are a number of ways:
Look at the history of success with employee owned companies. Think about the correlation between employee ownership and share price growth. Think about the difference it would make to the way your employees think about the Company if they became owners.
I expect a continuing growth in indirect ownership through Employee Ownership Trusts benefiting from the tax reliefs in Finance Act 2014. John Lewis is a lasting testament to how indirect employee ownership can succeed. The tax reliefs in FA 2014 mean that any adviser talking to individual vendors should include an EOT on the menu of possible sale routes. Our experience with establishing EOTs shows that they can achieve the commercial objectives of the vendors consistently with establishing permanent employee ownership and engagement.
The political commitment from across the spectrum towards developing and encouraging employee ownership. Without the combination of SIP, SAYE, CSOP, EMI and EOT tax reliefs, employee share schemes as we know them today would not exist.
The EMI plan is designed for smaller companies and offers the most attractive set of tax reliefs in UK legislation, but the rules are complex with many traps for the unwary. EMI schemes failing on a transaction happening is too familiar a story. The attraction of CSOPs has been emasculated by the erosion of the value of the reliefs first by reducing the value of shares subject to the awards and second by not indexing the £30k limit.
I would like to see the rules for discretionary plans simplified and extended so that they can be used to extend employee participation more widely on a flexible basis.
Employee ownership has many self-evident benefits. It appeals to the capitalist instincts of parties on the right and wealth sharing instincts of those on the left. Also, the reliefs which have been introduced have been successful with many good news stories.
The willingness to campaign relentlessly and across a wide range of areas.
Increasing its UK profile outside London – I know that Malcolm has been considering running conferences in locations other than London which would support this.
Walking in the country with my wife, two children and two dogs.
I would say logical problem solving. Other people might refer to my colourful ties and socks. My colleagues in the office say that it is my comedy value.
I believe that the future matters more than the past so hope that my greatest achievement is yet to happen.
John Maynard Keynes – his economic analysis is relevant today and could be applied with profit to counteract ten years of austerity.
There are many people I respect and who I learn from but all people are good and bad and become more complex as one knows them better, so I would have difficulty in finding one person to admire.
For the same reason, I would not easily identify a hero.
“There are a number of points which are relevant …” followed by listing them.