London-based removals firm Aussie Man and Van has been running a share scheme since 2004. At present, 30 members of staff are either shareholders or option-holders, representing 70% total equity.
Charles Rickards, finance and marketing director at Aussie Man and Van, says: “We think involving key members of the business in the equity of the business is morally a good thing to do, because it divides the cake on a more equal business.
“Also, from a commercial point of view, if [there are] a lot of people who are highly motivated and committed to the business long term, that should help it to grow.”
The organisation started by offering an enterprise management incentive (EMI) scheme, in which managers were given 16% of the business’ equity and the option to buy a further 16% once it had made a profit of a million pounds, within a seven-year time frame. By the end of the second year, the business had doubled its profits from £0.5 million to £1 million.
With 350 to 400 employees, depending on seasonal demand, Aussie Man and Van introduced a company share option plan (Csop) in 2019, which is one of the options available to organisations of its size. It is not just available to senior management, but to anyone who has demonstrated loyalty to the business, including some of the firm’s movers. To date, 22 employees have options through the Csop.
Rickards is proud of the opportunities these schemes have created. “For the people who invested in 2004, if [we] calculate the dividends they have had and the enterprise value of the business today, they have seen a hundredfold increase in the value of their shares. It is a life-changing amount of money for our people; many have been able to pay off their mortgages.
“We find [share schemes] take politics out of the business; people are all rowing in the same direction for the same cause.”