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When you are an employee of a company, you may be invited to participate in an employee share scheme (ESS). Also known as an employee share purchase plan, an employee share scheme provides eligible employees with shares in the company they work for, or the opportunity to purchase said shares.
For eligible employees, share purchase plans provide the opportunity to purchase shares in the company. These share purchases are often funded through salary sacrifice over a specified period, a loan from the employer or by dividends earned on the company shares.
Employee share schemes can be an effective tool for companies wishing to incentivize employees to improve company performance. By providing employees with company shares, the company is effectively aligning the interests of employees with shareholders, incentivizing employees to improve the performance of the company. Employee share schemes can also be an effective strategy to retain employees, as their employment status is directly tied to their ownership of company shares and the potential for capital gains as the value of their shareholding increases.
A company may also provide executive employees (those higher up on the pay scale) with performance bonus shares as a form of remuneration. These shares are often conditional on company performance and the executive or his/her team meeting specified targets.
Employees participating in an employee share scheme often face limitations with respect to when they are able to buy or sell shares granted through the employee share scheme. Oftentimes a company’s share scheme will require employees to remain employed with the company for a certain number of years before they are able to sell their shares. Some share schemes may also require key performance targets to be met before company shares are granted.
As each employee share scheme is different, it’s important to become familiar with your company’s particular scheme and how it affects your share ownership.
If you have received shares through an employee share scheme and are now eligible to sell them, you can simply complete our online share sale form and our friendly team will process your share sale quickly and easily. Before you get started, make sure you have your Securityholder Reference Number (SRN) handy. Usually found at the top of a holding statement or dividend statement, the SRN is unique to your shareholding, and is the key number required in order to view, manage or sell your shares. If you don’t know your SRN, we can perform an electronic SRN search on your behalf.