Share Plan services & beyond - attract, motivate and retain talent

Employee share ownership is an effective way for private companies to achieve a number of important business objectives and it is quite common for share plans to form an integral part of a company’s recruitment, incentivisation and retention strategy. It is also at its root the most natural way of aligning the interests of the company’s shareholders with its employees, which is vital given that share capital is the nucleus of a company‚Äôs well-being.

There are a number of different types of share incentive arrangement that private companies may consider offering, be it on a selective or all-employee basis, the most common being the following:

  • Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI)
  • Company share option plan (CSOP)
  • Employee Shareholder Shares
  • Save-as-you-earn (SAYE)
  • Share Incentive Plan (SIP)
  • Nil or partly paid share plans
  • Growth share plans
  • Joint Share Ownership Plans (JSOP)
  • Unapproved option plans
  • Restricted share plans
  • Phantom plans

For many private companies in the UK the search starts and ends with the tax-advantaged Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) share option plan. The only question then is simply whether they qualify to offer it and, if they do, what they then need to do to implement one and who might be eligible to receive EMI options. For some companies an EMI plan is just one of the share plans adopted. Whatever your circumstances, we can assess your requirements, advise you as to whether you qualify for any tax-advantaged arrangements and otherwise advise you on the most appropriate share plan structure for your company according to your particular needs.

The private companies we advise typically fall within the following categories but in reality similar design considerations apply to all:

  • start up or young
  • mature and established
  • focused on exit or IPO

It is recommended that companies know and understand the tax and legal consequences of offering employees shares before they jump in. We have unpicked a number of arrangements for clients and have all too often had to advise on structures which simply do not deliver the intended tax results or where a structure properly implemented has not been managed correctly. It is for that reason we offer private companies a no obligation initial consultation as a complex area can really be explained quite simply.

Download our brief guide to setting up a share plan in a private company.

The good news is that we have assisted hundreds of private companies in doing all of the items mentioned in the above guide time and time again. Quite often we are drawn into other areas, and will often incorporate new companies for clients as well as deal with EIS and SEIS applications.

Our core services include:

  • new company incorporations
  • EIS and SEIS clearances
  • advice on the tax, legal and compliance aspects relating to the design of share and share option plans both within the UK and internationally,
  • the choice of share plans open to companies, whether in the form of tax-advantaged arrangements approved by HMRC (EMI, CSOP, SIP, SAYE and Employee Shareholder Shares) or else developed to secure preferential tax treatment (nil paid shares, growth shares, JSOPs), and non tax-advantaged arrangements (unapproved options, deferred bonus plans and phantom plans)
  • the drafting of articles of association and shareholder agreements to take into account the operation of the share plans,
  • the creation of employee benefit trusts as internal markets or as part of succession strategies,
  • the drafting of share plan rules, award documentation and employee literature,
  • the valuation of shares for tax purposes,
  • guidance and assistance on the operation of the plans adopted, be it in relation to annual reporting requirements, regulatory guidelines or else in the day-to-day practical running of the share schemes,
  • accounting for share-based payments,
  • share plan reviews and audits

For an informal discussion about how employee share plans might help your private company, if you need us to review your current arrangements or else if you would like us to make the right introductions through our Partner Programme, please contact us for a FREE No Obligation consultation.

Supporting the interests of shareholders

As a listed company, or a company quoted on AIM and ISDX, you may want a share scheme to motivate and reward senior management through various discretionary share plans to help align their rewards and their interests to that of shareholders. Alternatively, you may wish to make share ownership available as an incentive to everyone by introducing an all employee share plan, helping to motivate, engage and reinforce long-term commitment to the well-being of the company. All this, and within the appropriate investor and remuneration guidelines.

We work with various listed and quoted companies that operate both in the UK and internationally to design flexible share plans that can benefit the recruitment, incentivisation and retention of employees as part of the general remuneration policy of the company. We look to implement share plans that compliment the overall benefits framework, whilst operating in the most tax efficient way for both employees and the company.

Our core service offering in share plan consultancy and design for listed and quoted companies includes:

  • Share plan reviews and audits
  • Share plan advice and recommendations to remuneration committees
  • Summaries of share plans for shareholder approval
  • Share plan design and employee communications
  • Employee benefit trusts (EBTs)
  • Trustee services
  • Share valuations for tax purposes
  • Global feasibility and compliance reviews relating to international share plans
  • Employment related securities returns & compliance services
  • IFRS 2 / FRS 20 Accounting
  • Review and recommendations on share plan administration and providers
  • Recommendations on software solutions to enable companies to administer their own share plans as well as track insiders

There are a number of different types of share incentive arrangement that listed and quoted companies may consider offering, be it on a selective or all-employee basis, the most common being the following:

  • Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) where the size of the company permits
  • Company share option plan (CSOP)
  • Save-as-you-earn (SAYE)
  • Share Incentive Plan (SIP)
  • Employee Shareholder Shares
  • Nil or partly paid share plans in unquoted subsidiaries
  • Growth share plans in unquoted subsidiaries
  • Joint Share Ownership Plans (JSOP)
  • Unapproved option plans
  • Restricted share plans
  • Share matching plans
  • Deferred bonus plans
  • Phantom plans

To further enhance our core service offering in share plan consultancy and design, we provide listed companies a full end-to-end solution by offering the following services through select strategic partnerships:

  • Brokerage Services
  • Charitable Share Gifting
  • Offshore trustee services and administration
  • Employee Communications – design and delivery
  • Remuneration benchmarking and KPI measurement
  • Financial Education
  • Global Payments & FX solutions
  • Non-executive director and company secretary recruitment services
  • Share plan administrator recruitment services
  • Share Plan Administration & Software
  • Share Plan Education
  • Wealth Management Services
  • Wills & Inheritance Tax Planning

If you are thinking about introducing a share plan for some or all of your employees, or would like to refresh your existing share plan offerings or make use of our Partner Programme then contact us for a FREE No Obligation consultation.