On 19 and 20 November, the German city of Berlin was host to two of this year’s most prominent compensation plan industry events. While the Global Equity Organization Pan European Regional Event (GEO PERE) addressed share plan managers, compensation consultants, issuers and service providers, the German Equity Day “Tag der Teilhabe” brought together high-profile representatives from companies, government, industry groups as well as leading academics. Equatex supported both events as a main sponsor.
How to kick-start equity participation in Germany
There was one thing the 150 delegates attending the German Equity Day agreed on: When it comes to employee share ownership, Germany has a lot of catching-up to do. Compared to the US and the UK, but also in comparison to other European countries, the proportion of employees owning shares in their company is low. It’s a situation business leaders like Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser are anxious to change. As Kaeser outlined in his keynote: “Owning shares means owning part of the company. And if people own something they care for it.” In his speech, he highlighted the crucial role equity culture plays to run a sustainable and successful business.
In further keynote speeches and panel discussions, a wealth of ideas to foster employee share ownership in Germany was discussed. From more attractive tax breaks with the aim to incentivise employee equity programs to promoting shares as a means for wealth creation and retirement saving, participants debated many different ways how the current situation could be improved.
During a panel discussion hosted by Equatex Chief Operating Officer Frank Juhre, Professor Dr. Michael Wolff summarised the findings of his own research on the impact of share participation programs on business performance. As the results showed, such programs have the potential to positively influence employee engagement and performance. The panellists also discussed how employee equity participation can be implemented at non-listed companies with AGP Managing Director Dr. Heinrich Beyer highlighting that in Germany, employees owning equity in non-listed companies outnumber employee shareholders in listed companies.
Equatex COO Frank Juhre said about the event: “The German Equity Day achieved its goal to encourage a broader debate around employee participation, equity ownership and how these can be promoted and fostered. Equatex believes this to be a crucial discussion and as an enabler of effective share and compensation plan solutions we’re committed to contribute to this dialogue”.
Learning from the best at GEO PERE
At the Global Equity Organization Pan European Regional Event, leading compensation experts shared their experience in designing, implementing and running compensation plans and equity participation schemes. From creating a global equity compensation culture to the specific challenges private companies face around their compensation plans, the various breakout sessions allowed for a lively exchange of ideas and best practices.
In a keynote speech, NASDAQ Private Market Equity Solutions president Carine Schneider presented her views on the trends in the capital markets in front of some 110 delegates who flew in from across Europe and beyond to increase their own know-how, share experiences and network with industry peers, clients and other stakeholders.
GEO Executive Director Danyle Anderson said about the event: “It was wonderful to see so many people from across our industry engage in shaping the future of employee equity ownership. Hosting this year’s GEO Pan European Regional Event in Berlin and right before the German Equity Day has led to many interesting interactions and encounters with stakeholders beyond our own industry. We took the topic of employee equity ownership a big step forward, for Germany and across Europe.”