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Press Release

Fieldfisher assists in First Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) to be created by a business originating in Australia

European law firm, Fieldfisher, has assisted Employee Ownership Australia (EO Australia) on the first Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) created by a business originating in Australia, design company, Meld Studios Pty. Ltd.  This trust model of employee ownership is used widely in the UK but this is the first one in Australia.
 

EO Australia is a member-focused, not-for-profit company which assists companies in Australia that have or aim to implement employee ownership or employee share plans.

Fieldfisher partner Graeme Nuttall OBE, who is responsible for introducing the EOT model in the UK, advised EO Australia on how the EOT can be adapted for the Australian legislative and tax environment. 
 
Graeme says "The main reason why so many new EOTs are created each month in the UK is the EOT's success as a succession solution for private company owners. Selling to the trustee of an EOT avoids sharing trade secrets with competitors and gives control over timing. It also secures legacy, independence and ethos at the same time as rewarding and incentivising those who make a company successful, its employees. These are values that apply internationally and I look forward to seeing the widespread adoption of the EOT business model in Australia.” 
 
KWM legal consultant and EO Australia Chair Andrew Clements says “We have been assisted by Graeme in developing an employee ownership trust structure for pilot company, Meld Studios.  There has been significant interest from small businesses following our work in relation to EOTs. It is a model which is regarded as providing a very effective tool for employee ownership without the complexities of allocated employee share plans."
 
The establishment of an EOT in a business originating in Australia marks a significant step towards the widespread adoption of the model by businesses across the country – in the UK over 420 EOTs (with tens of thousands of employee-owners) have already been established since the EOT was introduced in 2014. The EOT is also being utilised in the US and is on its way to being established in Canada, with the Canadian federal government recently announcing a commitment to explore the EOT framework as part of Canada’s economic recovery.

About Fieldfisher LLP

Fieldfisher is a European law firm with market leading practices in many of the world's most dynamic sectors.
Our network has more than 1,700 people working across 25 offices providing highly commercial advice based on an in-depth understanding of our clients' needs.
We operate across our offices in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Belfast, Birmingham, Bologna, Brussels, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Turin, Venice and Silicon Valley.
 
About Employee Ownership Australia
 
Employee Ownership Australia (EO Australia) assists companies of all sizes implement employee ownership by providing high quality and topical educational resources and hosting information sharing and networking events. EO Australia is also the leading advocate for change at the legislative level to improve the tax and legal operating environment for businesses with employee share schemes in Australia.

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