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Employee Incentives

The successful delivery of competitive and tax-efficient employee incentives can play a key role in ensuring employee engagement, improving staff retention and ultimately the success of a business.

Our multi-disciplinary team provides integrated specialist advice to businesses and executives on the structuring of the full range of incentive arrangements including long term incentive plans, deferred bonus arrangements, relocation and termination packages, as well as advice on the corporate governance issues that can arise when introducing or operating such arrangements.

We have in depth experience of undertaking both HMRC approved and unapproved share option plan work, including bespoke employee share plans for multinationals, as well as designing detailed share rights for key managers and employees which seek to maximise the benefits of capital gains tax, including CGT Entrepreneurs' Relief. We advise on a stand-alone advisory basis and in the context of larger corporate transactions.

We regularly advise our Quoted Company clients on the design, implementation and operation of bonus schemes, option schemes, phantom schemes and the full range of HMRC approved schemes. This is just one of the essential HQ services that we are able to offer our clients' HR and Company Secretarial teams.

For multinational businesses, we specialise in project managing and co-ordinating overseas legal advice for the introduction of UK share plans to other jurisdictions or the adaptation of overseas plans, particularly US-based plans, for UK and European operations. We also advise extensively on global mobility and its impact on share schemes and other forms of remuneration.

Reflecting our strength in the entrepreneurial/growth company market, we have a particular expertise in designing and implementing private company schemes, including bespoke tax-efficient incentive arrangements. We advise both sponsors and management teams on the structuring of management equity in private equity transactions.

Working closely with our Financial Services group, we advise on the design and implementation of cash and equity-based remuneration arrangements for employees of Financial Services businesses, including the implications of the FSA Remuneration Code. We have also been closely involved in the use of limited liability partnerships as the preferred vehicle for investment management businesses, and have particular experience in maximising the tax efficiency of LLP structures.

More generally, we provide employment tax advisory services for both corporate and individual clients, including the UK tax implications of individuals becoming or ceasing to be resident in the UK in a business or employment context. We also implement and advise on employee benefit trusts and unapproved pension vehicles with a particular emphasis on the impact of the 'disguised remuneration rules' on these arrangements.


International telecoms group 

Co-ordinating all legal and tax advice for a publicly-quoted telecoms company on the global roll-out of its share incentive plans operating in more than 50 countries, with over 15,000 employees participating worldwide, and on its subsequent demerger.

Business services organisation 

Advising on a series of worldwide share incentive programmes for 1,800 employees across 20 jurisdictions.

Media services group 

Advising a significant privately-owned media services group on the introduction of a bespoke tax efficient share incentive scheme for senior employees.

Financial services business 

Introducing an innovative incentives arrangement to achieve tax efficient employee participation in a limited liability partnership.