On 2 March 2023, Karanović & Partners, together with Digital Serbia Initiative (DSI) and Vega IT, held a workshop on “Employee Share Ownership Plan in Practice”. The speakers were Igor Radovanović, our Senior Associate, Ivana Kappenmann, CFO at Vega IT, and Snežana Đaković, legal officer at Vega IT.
The workshop was attended by experts from the field of finance, human resources, and business owners who were interested in implementing ESOP in their companies, with the aim to discuss the values of ESOP and how it can be used to benefit both employees and companies.
After a brief opening speech made by Ivan Kostić from DSI, Igor Radovanović started the workshop with an overview of employee share ownership, its benefits, and how it works, with a special emphasis on the legal and regulatory requirements for setting up an ESOP.
Igor touched upon the reasons for choosing to pursue this route, as well as its key elements, including strike price, vesting period, share option agreement and shareholders’ agreement, and the concept of good leaver and bad leaver, among others. He also pointed out the most critical tax aspects of ESOP, discussing the certain tax-efficient way of transferring ownership over shares, and tax exemptions for companies using ESOP.
Ivana Kappenmann gave a practical insight into employee share ownership, from the perspective of an ESOP pioneer company in the Serbian market. After successfully implementing this type of share option plan a few years ago, Vega IT continues to achieve good results. Ivana eagerly shared with us the most significant examples from their practice, that can be used for other companies in their future implementation of ESOP.
Nearing the end of the lecture, Snežana Đaković summarized the key steps of an ESOP implementing process from the perspective of administration and paperwork, explaining the documents and legal procedure that stands behind it, helping the audience understand the complexity of this issue. It resulted in a lively discussion with the attendees, curious about every step of the procedure.
Without drawing an ultimate and final conclusion, considering that share option plans are still relatively new to our market, the most important question regarding ESOP is about the value it brings to both the company and its employees, in terms of motivation and the long-term business plan. Once again, it is proved to be an exceptionally complex topic, for being both privilege and an obligation.
Finally, with the increasing popularity of ESOP, workshops like these remain an important resource for business owners and employees looking to learn more about it. We are happy for being part of it.
Senior Associate refers to Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanović & Partners.
The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.