Well after 6 months of planning another annual conference is complete. It was a fantastic event that had a number of really good speakers, offered a great chance to hear experts from the around the world, let our participants network with peers and hear from some Australian companies that excel in employee ownership.
The day started with the Honourable Tony Smith MP, Federal Member for Casey, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Tax Reform. His speech was extremely positive and spoke about the clear link between productivity and employee ownership and the need for this vehicle to boost our economy. His full speech can be downloaded here. Tony mingled with the presenters and attendees during morning tea.
The ASIC Commissioner John Price gave an excellent speech about ASIC’s view and understanding of employee share schemes, including its review of the Policy Statement 49 and ASIC Class Order 03/184. The consultation process for this will start in June 2013 and cover things such as performance rights, contractors, NEDs, suspension from quotation, trusts and unlisted entities.
He was able to answer a number of questions around this process and ASIC’s views around employee share schemes.
One of our key note speakers for the day was Graeme Nuttall, who is leading the employee ownership reform process in the UK, through the Nuttall Review. He is working very closely with the UK government in this process. He was able to offer some excellent insights, some interesting stories and some helpful advice for companies in Australia. A key part of his message was the importance of understanding that employee ownership works best when there is employee ownership levels above 10% of the company.
Our other key note speaker was Loren Rodgers, Executive Director of the National Centre for Employee Ownership. He was able to share some excellent facts about how ESOPs in the US are saving the Government $14 – 23 billion in unemployment costs per annum. Research shows employee owned companies create more jobs, save more jobs and reduce the risk of redundancies and also create greater growth. He discussed the US landscape more generally as well as trends and considerations for employees, owners and policy makers.
We also heard directly from companies. Telstra, who also won 2 of employee ownership excellence awards in the evening told us about their programs. Yolande Foord, Executive Director of Remuneration & Benefits, spoke about Telstra’s communication strategy and employee engagement globally. Specifically how this strategy has increased participation by over 15% globally to close to 90%.
ARUP shared their story. ARUP have been voted the 2012 employer of choice for women, the 2012 BRW winner of the client choice award and been given numerous awards as an employer of choice. Andrew Pettifer, Principal/Office Leader Sydney, Arup spoke about ARUP’s journey and some of the amazing projects they have been involved in. Their ownership model has 11,000 employees participating in 32 countries globally. Interesting 87% of ARUP’s employees would recommend it as a place to work and 89% are proud to work there, very impressive.
Our Gold sponsor for the day PwC spoke about the psychology of incentives and how to implement a plan in a private company. Our lunch sponsor Solium spoke about the key issues involved in global mobility. We had other varied and interesting speakers for the day including our Master of Ceremonies, Jamie Anderson of Mastertek.