A beginner’s guide: share plans

I joined ProShare’s Introduction to Employee Share Plans and Share Ownership workshop last week and came away with some valuable insights.

As Eximia’s Reward Consultant & Account Manager, I have several years’ experience in reward. But I was interested to get a deeper understanding of share plans from a beginner’s perspective. This was a great opportunity for me to hear from experts on the benefits of share plans and the many developments that are happening.

The event, held at their London office, was split into two main sessions. The morning session covered all-employee plans led by experts from PwC who discussed Share Incentive Plans (SIP) and Save As You Earn (SAYE), as well as the upcoming changes to bonuses and interest rates. In the afternoon, law firm Tapestry covered a variety of Discretionary and Exec share plans. We also had a session from Eximia on effective share plan communications which highlighted the power of communication to keep employees on the journey with you.

Throughout the day, I met a range of people who work for plan issuers, administrators and advisors, and was surprised to learn that many had never considered this career path. This reaffirmed that it’s an exciting industry to join at any stage of your career.

Share plans are worthwhile

Here are my top takeaways:

  • Share plans have the potential to benefit both the employee and employer. Make sure yours is accessible and meaningful to ensure optimal uptake. 
  • They can be complicated, but there are experts on hand to guide you – whether for tax, administration or internal communications.
  • Communication is King. It doesn’t matter how good your plan is, if your employees don’t know about it or understand it, they won’t engage with it.
  • Change is happening, fast. The employee share options limit has doubled from £30,000 to £60,000 for the Company Share Option Plan (CSOP), and there are reductions to the tax-free allowance for Capital Gains Tax (CGT). And with new SAYE plan launches earning interest on savings from August, there’s lots to communicate.

Final thoughts…

Overall, it was an invaluable event for those starting out in share plans and wanting to develop new connections. There’s an abundance of information and it was a supportive and welcoming space to take that in. I’d recommend everyone to attend a ProShare workshop in the future.

Stay updated with ProShare’s event calendar.

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