EQ Investors 

Advice chief sells fifth of firm to employees

Advice chief sells fifth of firm to employees

Staff at financial planning firm EQ Investor are now the third largest shareholder after the firm's founder sold parts of his stake to them.

Employees now own 22 per cent of the firm, with a "significant" number of staff taking part in the share ownership scheme.

EQ's chief executive, John Spiers, also gifted 31 per cent of the business to the EQ Foundation, a charity linked to the firm which aims to help disadvantaged people, mainly in the UK, through grants, donations and impact investments.

Mr Spiers still owns the remaining 45 per cent of the business but will release more of his stake to employees, with the aim of eventually making them majority owners.

He said: "The number of employees subscribing to the employee share ownership plan has exceeded my expectations and demonstrates tremendous confidence by staff in EQ’s philosophy and long-term prospects.

"As a long-standing advocate of employee share ownership, I have seen first-hand the strategic and ethical rewards of adopting a model which aligns the interests of employees with that of the business."

EQ Investors was founded in 2014 and has assets under management of more than £800m.

Mr Spiers was previously the founder of Bestinvest, where he was chief executive for 20 years.

Earlier this year Chris Budd, the director of Ovation Finance, sold the majority of the business to its employees, saying he did not want to sell the Bristol-based firm to a consolidator.

Mr Budd said: "Share ownership by employees is a great motivator, and the fact that almost a third of the shares are owned by a charity even more so.

"Direct ownership does have its own issues – such as how a market for disposing of the shares is to be created – that other options such as Employee Ownership Trusts do not face. However, any employee ownership is very much to be welcomed."

damian.fantato@ft.com

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