AIM-listed law firm Gateley has launched an employee share scheme that will enable all members of staff to secure up to £500 of shares every month at a discount of 20% on their price.
Victoria Garrad, partner in the firm’s employment department, said 44% of the firm’s 650 staff had signed up for shares since the scheme launched at the end of August.
She said the existing share scheme for partners would continue, while a third scheme would be launched for associates by the end of the year.
“We wanted to make the employee share scheme as attractive as we could, which is why we decided to offer a 20% discount,” Ms Garrad said.
“We’re really pleased by the number of employees who’ve chosen to participate, demonstrating their confidence in the future of the business.
“When we floated, we said our aims were to diversify, differentiate and incentivise. This offers staff at all levels the opportunity to invest in the firm’s equity, rather than it being limited to the partners.”
Under the scheme, run by Capita, Gateley staff have three years from the end of August to sign up for anything from £5 to £500 of shares every month. At the end of the three years, they have the option to buy the shares at the original August price less 20%. The original price was just over 118p, which has since risen to 121p.
At the end of the three-year term, staff in the Sharesave scheme are not liable to pay income tax or National Insurance, and only have to pay capital gains tax if they are above the threshold.
The maturity date is delayed by a month every month that an employee misses, and if they miss more than six months, their Sharesave contract ends.
Ms Garrad said the scheme for associates would be a company share option plan scheme. This enables a company to grant share options to selected employees up to a maximum value per individual of £30,000 at the date of the grant.
Like the Sharesave scheme, as long as the options are exercised three or more years after the original grant, they will be free of income tax and National Insurance.
Chief executive Michael Ward added: “In other firms, having an equity stake in the business is an opportunity open only to a small number of partners. At Gateley, it is open to all employees.
“I am really pleased by the numbers choosing to join the scheme. It is a huge sign of their confidence and commitment to the business, which continues to perform well.”
Gateley is not the first legal services business to offer its staff shares. Multi-disciplinary insurance firm Triton Global used its alternative business structure status to set up a scheme , while south-west law firm Stephens Scown did the same earlier this year .
- Stephens Scown’s managing partner Robert Camp will be speaking about his firm’s scheme at next month’s Legal Futures Innovation Conference. Click here  for all the details.