In a move welcomed by the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, the Employee Shares Worked Examples Group (WEG) has announced its first jointly approved example.
Devised by Fieldfisher Partner Graeme Nuttall OBE, the example shows how employee shares in a public service mutual community interest company can have an actual and unrestricted market value equal to their par value.
WEG is an initiative promoting collaboration between HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and four leading UK employee share plan bodies.
The Employee Ownership Association (EOA), the Esop Centre, ProShare and the Share Plan Lawyers Group have formed WEG as a body of experts to develop and seek HMRC approval for examples of share valuations over a wide range of employee share ownership and employee ownership arrangements.
The aim of the initiative is to create better understanding and reduce uncertainty for practitioners following the withdrawal of the HMRC post valuation transaction check procedure.
Fieldfisher Partner, Graeme Nuttall OBE, explained the purpose of this first worked example as follows:
"In many public service mutuals, employee owners want to see any surplus reinvested in the delivery of better public services, rather than receive personal rewards as co-owners.
"The Public Service Mutual Healthcare CIC example approved by WEG provides a way to achieve this. A new employee may buy a voting share for a nominal amount and sell that share for the same amount on leaving.
"In this way, employees get a personal and collective voice in how their business is run, with minimal share plan administration and no tax complications."
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:
“I am committed to supporting the development, growth and sustainability of mutuals, with £2.7 million of government funding available to help achieve this.
"I welcome the move from this collective group of experts to help further support and promote this business model.”
Deb Oxley, Chief Executive, EOA, said:
“Public service mutual structures deliver £1.6 billion of public services and are found in a diverse array of services including health, education and employment.
"Combining as they do, the ownership of the business with strong employee engagement, enables them to deliver services with high levels of productivity and performance, with 95% of them delivering a financial surplus, which is most often reinvested into the service and/or the local community.
"The EOA therefore welcomes the first example published by WEG, which focuses on one such example of this innovative business model, as part of the wider sector of UK employee owned businesses and those businesses with employee share ownership.”
The Esop Centre is providing the secretariat to WEG. WEG is chaired by William Franklin who developed the idea for WEG with Tony Spindler of HMRC and Malcolm Hurlston CBE of the ESOP Centre. Fieldfisher partner Mark Gearing is also a member of WEG.
Practitioners are invited to submit worked examples for assessment, agreement with HMRC and online publication to email@example.com.
For the latest news and views on employee ownership, follow Fieldfisher Partner Graeme Nuttall OBE on Twitter @nuttallreview.
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