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Purchase and savings programs

Stock purchase programs are often used for larger sections of employees. The most common is that all employees are offered to buy shares in the company – typically with a discount or bonus shares. Here we go into the details!

Invest in your own company – with a discount or bonus shares

Purchase or savings programs for employees are most often used to allow a larger proportion of employees to take part in ownership and value development in the company. Smaller volumes and values ​​are usually included (it can also be used for smaller management groups with larger volumes). It is also worth noting that this type of scheme is most common in listed companies – as it is easier to communicate the value of the company where a market price has been set for the shares.

These types of programs are often structured with a discount and a lock-in period where the employee cannot sell the shares. The programs can be structured as one-off investments (preferably also with payday loans where the money is deducted from salary afterwards), or savings programs where employees, for example, are deducted from salary monthly and the money accumulates before buying shares for savings once a quarter. In other words, the main difference between a purchase and a savings program is whether you save in advance of a purchase or not. Here, the concepts are not clearly defined nor are they so important.

It is common to offer these programs at set time intervals. Typically, shares are traded annually, but we also see that some do this semi-annually or quarterly. The purchase programs require a lot of capital in advance from the employee and are therefore, as mentioned above, often combined with a loan from the company. It can also be combined with matching / bonus shares or performance shares for extra motivating and / or targeted effect.

Benefits:

  • If this type of program is offered to a wide number of employees, it is a fine element in culture building and a part of gaining interest in the “parent company”.
  • Great way to introduce employees to stocks in general by making it easy to participate. This is reinforced by facilitating salary financing.
  • Investors consider it an advantage that employees own shares.
  • There are some “tax benefits” for this type of program in Norway.

Disadvantages:

  • May involve significant administrative work for the company.
  • Creating share accounts for employees outside Norway can be a challenge.
  • One can think that participants do not have to have “all the eggs in one basket” by having all the savings in the employer.

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