ifs ProShare is the voice of the employee share ownership industry in the UK.
Established by the British Government, London Stock Exchange and a number of FTSE 100 companies in 1992 to promote employee share ownership, today ifs ProShare has more than 100 members and is a not-for-profit organization.
Employee share ownership is where employees own shares in the company that they work for, more often than not through an HMRC approved employee share plan i.e. a Save As You Earn (SAYE), Share Incentive Plan (SIP), Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) plan or a Company Share Option Plan (CSOP). According to the latest ifs ProShare annual survey (July 2014) over 2 million employees in the UK currently own shares in the company they work for as a result of their participation in an HMRC approved employee share plan.
This is not the same as Employee Ownership as conducted by the likes of Arup and the John Lewis Partnership John Lewis Partnership - where employees theoretically own either a substantial stake of the company or the whole of the company.
The organisation was acquired by financial education charity ifs University College in 2004. Since then the organisation has been run by Anne Kiem 2005-2008 then Phil Hall 2008-2009 and again Anne Kiem (2009 – 2014). During this time the organisation has had a number of people undertaking the public facing role of Head of Employee Share Ownership:
|Fiona Downes||2004 - 2008|
|Julie Richardson||2008 - 2011|
|Alexy Armitage||November 2010 – February 2011|
|John Collison||August 2011 – July 2014|
Due to financial difficulties ProShare was split into two organisations in 2004. The private investment clubs element of the organisation was purchased by Digital Look and continues to trade under the ProShare name.
The student investor and the employee share ownership elements of the organisation were successfully acquired by financial education charity the ifs University College.
The Student Investor competition for teenagers is now operated as part of ifs University College's financial capability offering as the ifs Student Investor. The employee share ownership aspect of the original ProShare company now operates under the brand name “ifs ProShare”.
The role of ifs ProShare is to liaise with and lobby HM Revenue & Customs, HM Treasury, the FCA and other industry bodies on the legal, regulatory and fiscal environment for employee share ownership. They also have regular interaction with politicians across all parties, the media and a wide range of stakeholders to improve awareness and understanding of employee share ownership.
For example, a 2008-2013 ifs ProShare campaign led by Phil Hall focused on increasing the maximum amount employees could save in an all-employee share plan i.e. SAYE and SIP share plans. This had the support of politicians from all parties and has been covered in a number of national news publications. Campaigns such as these exert pressure on the Government to make improvements in the interests of individual employee shareholders and in this case led to a doubling of the amount that employees can save in SAYE schemes.
Other activities include the ifs ProShareAnnual Awards Dinner for over 500 professionals working in the employee share ownership industry - to recognise and reward best practice - and the hosting of the UK's largest annual employee share ownership conference, the ifs ProShare Annual Conference.
ifs ProShare has over 100 members. These include a wide range of SMEs as well as larger companies such as Asda, BP, BT, HSBC, National Grid and Marks & Spencer as well as share plan administrators and advisers including Capita, Computershare, Equiniti, YBS Share Plans, Linklaters, PWC and many, many others.
- 2014: The Observer,