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Employee share schemes for SMEs conference 2017

Date September 14

The next employee share schemes for SMEs conference, jointly organised by the Employee Share Ownership Centre and the Institute of Directors, will be held at the offices of Travers Smith in London on Thursday September 14 2017.


This full day conference will help you decide whether to introduce an employee share scheme or deepen existing employee share ownership in your company.

With increased choice of government approved models available, employee share ownership is the flexible and powerful business structure where employees buy or are gifted shares in their company. Creating employee owners in this way is achievable and can empower employees and drive growth. Employees’ ownership of shares in the company for which they work can be the tangible core of a culture of ownership and engagement. Binding dynamic, growing companies, are employees with a stake and strong sense of that stake.

Who should attend?

This one-day conference is designed for owners, company directors, finance managers and HR managers who are considering implementing an employee share scheme in their business, or who want to develop existing employee share ownership.

What will you get from the conference?

  1. Reach an informed decision about a scheme that works for you – leave with a thorough understanding of the most suitable scheme to benefit your business and employees.
  2. Gain cutting edge insights from the experts – learn about the legal, tax and accounting implications that could impact your business from those who have experience.
  3. Receive practical guidance with an interactive programme – take part in interactive Q&As, panel discussions and a public surgery.
  4. Change the culture of your company – create or deepen employee share ownership and create a tangible core of engagement that will benefit your workforce.


Tickets cost £385 + VAT for IoD and individuals from Centre members, and £485 + VAT for non-members.

IoD members can book online. Centre members interested in attending the conference should contact Daniel Helen at events@esopcentre.com or call 020 7239 4971.


The event will be chaired by Esop Centre chairman Malcolm Hurlston CBE.

    • Introduction to employee share schemes
      • Robert Postlethwaite, managing director, Postlethwaite
    • Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI)
      • Liz Hunter, head of share schemes, Mazars
    • EMI case studies
      • David Craddock, founder and director, David Craddock Consultancy Services
    • Alternatives to EMI
      • Catherine Gannon, managing partner, Gannons
    • Beginner panel
      • Chaired by Mahesh Varia, partner, Travers Smith
    • Employee Ownership Trusts
      • Nigel Mason, managing partner, RM2
    • SME share scheme case studies
      • Colin Kendon, partner, Bird & Bird
    • Share schemes and succession planning
      • Stephen Woodhouse, partner, Pett Franklin
    • Financing employee ownership
      • Garry Karch, managing partner, RM2
    • Advanced panel
      • Chaired by Mahesh Varia, partner, Travers Smith


Malcolm Hurlston CBE, chairman, Esop Centre

Malcolm Hurlston ProfileMalcolm Hurlston chairs the Employee Share Ownership Centre and its international arm, the World Centre for Employee Share Ownership. He founded the Centre in 1988. He is visiting professor at the University of Westminster. He is the chairman of Hurlstons, the leading political media and research consultancy, and of non-profits the Financial Inclusion Centre, Registry Trust and Irish Judgments. He is president of the Foundation for Credit Counselling (now t/a StepChange) which he founded in 1993. His work in financial services was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2013 when he was awarded a CBE.

Colin Kendon, partner, Bird & Bird

Colin Kendon is head of the employee incentives and benefits team at Bird & Bird LLP. Colin drafts, designs and implements employee share plans and other incentive arrangements and advises on the incentives aspects of corporate transactions for a wide range of clients from private companies to multi-nationals with an emphasis on the technology and communications sector. Colin advises extensively on EMI plans, growth shares and establishing employee share markets. Colin co-authored Internet Business: Commerce and Tax which contains a substantial section on share plans and share based arrangements for employees and managers of private companies in technology and e-commerce sectors.

David Craddock, founder and director, David Craddock Consultancy Services

David Craddock is a consultant specialising in employee share ownership and reward management, operating through his own business, David Craddock Consultancy Services, which he founded in 1997. He addresses all aspects of an employee share scheme project from design and implementation, tax and legal compliance to communication, administration and the ongoing maintenance of employee share schemes. He works with varied clientele ranging from major public limited companies with international share scheme considerations to smaller private concerns. David lectures regularly on employee share ownership matters and contributes to conferences and seminars worldwide, and is the author of Tolley’s Guide to Employee Share Schemes, The ICSA Employee Share Schemes Handbook and the employee share scheme sections of The Croner Reward A to Z Essentials of Pay and Benefits.

Catherine Gannon, managing partner, Gannons

Catherine Gannon is a Solicitor and a Chartered Tax Advisor. She has been running her firm Gannons for 15 years overseeing year on year growth. Gannons is a boutique commercial law firm based in Holborn focused on private company commercial work. Overseeing a 20 percent growth year on year Catherine and the team are commercial, entrepreneurial and effective and very much tuned into real life. She is widely regarded as “very capable and practical”.

Liz Hunter, head of share schemes, Mazars

Liz Hunter has over 20 years’ experience working in tax, particularly with entrepreneurial businesses and has spent the last 16 years specialising in share schemes and employee rewards. In addition to her extensive tax experience, she also holds a master’s degree in employment law. Having studied tax as part of her undergraduate law degree, Liz started her career with Coopers and Lybrand (now PWC) and then headed the tax department of a top 100 accountancy practice. In 2001 she joined Chiltern Plc (now part of BDO) to pursue her specialist share scheme interest in their equity incentives reward practice. Liz joined a specialist share schemes boutique as a director in 2009, before moving to Mazars in early 2014. Liz provides clients across all sectors with advice that is not only technically accurate, but is also practical and commercial and above all effective in maximising shareholder value and minimising tax risk, from early formative stage to exit and beyond. She has a particular passion for entrepreneurial game changers and companies with international equity awards. Unlike many legal advisers, Liz is adept at working with the needs of an entrepreneur and can condense complex legal matters into a one or two page visual. Liz also provides practical tools to help clients and their advisers and investors with the dilution/reward decision making and the communication aids to optimise the efficacy of equity awards. Liz also works with quoted international groups and smaller quoted companies and participates in the Quoted Companies Alliance share scheme experts group.

Stephen Woodhouse, partner, Pett Franklin

Stephen Woodhouse joined Pett Franklin in December 2013. Throughout his career, he has advised on tax with particular emphasis on employee share schemes and related remuneration issues, including share valuation. He has advised on both domestic and international issues and is an acknowledged expert on employee benefit trusts which are particularly relevant to support the operation of share plans in private companies. His background enables him to connect the combination of commercial, tax and legal issues which underpin the structure and operation of employee share plans.

Robert Postlethwaite, managing director, Postlethwaite


Robert Postlethwaite is an employee share plan and employee ownership specialist with particular expertise in helping private and smaller listed companies find the right employee share plan to match their needs. He also specialises in arranging ownership succession through transfers of ownership to employee trusts and putting in place all-employee share ownership plans. A graduate in law from the University of Bristol, Robert was a partner in a national firm of corporate lawyers before founding Postlethwaite in 2003. He is described as a leader in his field in the 2016 edition of Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession.

Garry Karch, managing partner, RM2 Partnership

Garry Karch is a long-term employee ownership corporate finance professional. He is a co-founder of RM2 Corporate Finance, the corporate finance advisory affiliate of The RM2 Partnership. He brings over 25 years of employee ownership advisory and investment banking experience in the United States to RM2 Corporate Finance. During his time in the US, he served for many years on the ESOP Association’s Advisory Committee on Finance and was also a long-term member of the National Center for Employee Ownership. He has been a frequent speaker on structuring and financing employee ownership transactions throughout his career.

Nigel Mason, managing partner, RM2 Partnership

A mathematician by training, Nigel’s early career was in banking. He became interested in employee ownership and, in 1991, co-founded Capital Strategies, a corporate finance adviser specialising in employee buyouts. He was a member of the HMRC Advisory Group which designed the SIP and EMI schemes, and led the employee share plans business of Equiniti from 2002 to 2009. From 2009 he was policy director for the Employee Ownership Association (EOA). In 2010, he founded a new consumer-owned energy supplier called Co-operative Energy, before returning to advising private companies on employee ownership as director of RM2.

Mahesh Varia, partner, Travers Smith

Mahesh Varia trained at Travers Smith and is a partner and head of the employee incentives group. He advises companies, directors, trustees and employees on a wide range of issues, both in the context of corporate transactions and on a consultancy basis. Mahesh has been recognised as a leading individual in his field by the Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession. He is a member of the Association of Taxation Technicians and the Share Plan Lawyers Group.


September 14
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The Esop Centre
Institute of Directors


Travers Smith
10 Snow Hill
London, EC1A 2AL United Kingdom
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020 7295 3000