Employee stock ownership plans are great way to attract, retain and motivate all employees

ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans) are an ideal way to align the interests of the employees with those of shareholders. You may have also seen them called ESSs (employee share schemes), ESPs (employee share plans) or GEEPs (general employee equity plans).

Because employees can benefit financially when the company performs well, ESOPs also help build the foundation for enhanced employee engagement, commitment and involvement. GRG’s ESOP advantages include:

  • Tax-effective savings for participants,
  • Wealth creation as an uncapped supplement to superannuation (with access available prior to retirement), and
  • Improve a company’s financial position in two respects: the balance sheet (short term) and profit & loss (long term).

ESOPs can also be used as a NED Fee Sacrifice Plans to facilitate NED holdings, which is an emerging focus of scrutiny for governance groups.

GRG offers a comprehensive employee share scheme service

GRG has deep experience in developing ESOPs tailored to the specific circumstances and needs of individual ASX listed companies. Our comprehensive solutions cover the complete ESOP lifecycle of providing plan design options and recommendations, obtaining board and shareholder approval, arranging plan documentation, implementation and communication, liaison with stakeholders (including proxy advisors and the Australian Shareholders Association) and plan administration.

Capital protection guarantee

The $1,000 tax exempt plan base level of ESOP remains inadequately low for most employees in terms of building significant ownership, participation and engagement. Hence, more flexible and tax-effective plans are needed.

In response, GRG recently developed a new-style ESOP based on salary sacrifice with a guarantee to ensure that amounts sacrificed by employees come with a capital protection guarantee even if the share price falls. This feature is specifically introduced to remove the main impediment to employee acquisition of shares, (risk of loss). When combining it with regular affordable pre-tax savings via salary sacrifice, it makes this unique new style of ESOP the way to go for most ASX listed companies. Lastly, the capital guarantee is provided at nil cost to the company.

How GRG’s ESPs differ

  • GRG removed all major barriers to maximising employee ownership with no limits on amounts that can be sacrificed
  • Our instruments are effectively as flexible as cash, because:
    • They may be exercised at any time of the participant’s choosing, and
    • No tax has to be paid by participants until exercise or sale.
    • The instruments are designed to eliminate investment risk in that our default design includes a 100% capital protection guarantee of amounts sacrificed if the share price has fallen at the time of exercise.
  • No private tax rulings are required, as our plans are not based on loopholes or principles that are likely to come under scrutiny from the ATO – we only use commonly accepted approaches.

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