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Scottish advice company becomes entirely employee-owned

Founder said he had to ‘break the mould’ from selling to consolidators

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All shares of Montrose-based Gill Financial have been placed into an employee ownership trust (EOT) with all seven staff becoming direct beneficiaries of the partnership.

The trust will take on full ownership immediately, securing the future of the company which looks after £100m ($134.3m, €110.4m) of assets for its clients.

The firm has become the first Scottish business in the advice sector to become entirely employee-owned.

Selling

Roy Gill, founder of Gill Financial, said: “This move is about the brilliant team here and our clients first and foremost. A business does not exist without clients and we need to look after them before anyone else

“An acquisition would have put so much at risk – and I hated the thought of that. For a start I didn’t want any of our staff’s futures put into uncertainty, or for the culture to change so significantly they felt forced to leave.

“Likewise, we know we deliver great value for our clients across Pensions, Investment and Mortgage advice. The brand has been built up through hard work – and that’s a precious thing.

“More often than not IFAs are swallowed up by consolidators, with customers seeing increased fees and Staff adapting to new ways of working. We had to break the mould.”

Management team

The journey to becoming employee-owned started a couple of years ago, when RoyGill appointed Stephen Bain into a senior role, supported by Roy’s son Tayler Gill, who joined in 2017 and should finish his financial qualifications in 2021.

Laura Rose, who works as an in-house mortgage adviser will become a director, alongside Bain and Tayler Gill, while client service manager, Bev Waterson will also become the trustee responsible for representing all employees and the firm is also supported by administrator Lorraine Sutton.

In time, all employees will benefit from a share of any profits. Roy Gill and co-founder Lesley Gill will remain with the company until the handover takes place over the next three to four years, with Roy Gill taking a less active role in the business while still passing on his knowledge and guidance.

Ownership rules

The EOT was introduced in the 2014 Finance Act to encourage business owners to consider a sale to employees as a feasible succession solution.

It offers a tax effective exit to business owners, offering exemption from Capital Gains Tax if a controlling interest is sold to the Trust.

There are almost 100 employee-owned businesses headquartered in Scotland, and 500 in the UK.

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