ProShare Membership Benefits 2021
ProShare was established in 1992 by HM Treasury, a group of FTSE 100 companies and the London Stock Exchange to promote wider share ownership. Today, we work with companies of all sizes and across all sectors, helping to promote employee share ownership in the UK, as the voice of employee share plan practitioners and professionals. ProShare is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation, and we are funded solely through membership and our events.
Our Gold level members each have a seat on our Advisory Panel, which advises ProShare on its strategy and policy asks. We are delighted that, over the years, a number of existing members have decided to upgrade to Gold membership. Our flagship events of the year are the Annual Conference which, in normal years, attracts more than 350 share plan professionals and industry experts, and our Annual Awards night, attracting more than 550 members and guests. Our Summer Social has been a very popular addition to our calendar of events and we hope to be able to repeat it in 2022. All three events offer ample and varied opportunities for sponsorship, client hospitality and networking. We also run informal social and networking events for our members throughout the year. Our most recent annual Celebrating Excellence event was held online in May 2021. It was a real triumph and a fantastic opportunity to hear success stories from our award winners. This followed on from a record ‘live’ audience in 2020. We completed our first virtual conference in October 2020 with just short of 250 registered attendees, and 2021’s conference will also be held online across the afternoons of 29th and 30th September. Our Annual Awards Dinner on December 6th 2021 is being planned as a live event.
Sponsorship opportunities for our flagship events are made available in Q1 each year and, in addition to significant discounts, our Gold level members have a priority booking period for these before they are offered to our other members.
As well as the member discounts and offers listed on the following page, each Gold Member also receives three free tickets to our Celebrating Excellence and Annual Conference, both of which are considered key events across the share plans industry.
Gold Members also receive one free attendee place at each of our Introduction To Employee Share Plans workshops which are led by industry experts and usually run three times each year.
Gold Members also have the opportunity to co-host a webinar with ProShare, covering an agreed topic on an annual basis. Each webinar session will be advertised and promoted in our monthly newsletter and on our social media channels.
Focus groups & Forums
We run various members-only focus groups for several different core interest areas including:
- Global Issues
- Share Plans in Financial Services
- SMEs (including private company valuations), and
- Tax Advantaged Plans.
We also run additional focus groups where the need arises and last year we established an Administrator Forum, a unique environment in which our plan administrator members can discuss a wide range of issues of shared professional interest.
These groups enable plan issuer, provider and advisor members to come together (by telephone, webinar, or in person) to discuss issues in a confidential forum, to share best practice and to identify practical solutions. All focus group meetings and calls are conducted under the ‘Chatham House’ rule to ensure compliance with relevant competition law.
ProShare also host WEG (Worked Example Group) meetings from time to time.
Liaison with HMRC, HM Treasury and fellow industry bodies
As a member-led organisation we are always keen to hear views from our members on all areas of employee share ownership. We meet regularly with HMRC, HM Treasury, the Office of Tax Simplification, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Members of Parliament, and other regulatory and industry bodies, to express our members’ views and to ensure that the benefits of employee share ownership continue to be understood and appreciated by those in positions of influence.
ProShare is the principal lobbyist for employee share ownership in the UK and has a strong track record of influence at the heart of Government. We successfully lobbied the European Commission for a relaxation of the Prospectus Directive/Regulation requirements and were one of the original lobbyists for the creation of a new form of all-employee share plan - the Share Incentive Plan (SIP) - which came into being in 2000/2001. We helped secure compensation guarantees from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for Save as You Earn (SAYE) option holders in 2008, and we led a five year campaign to increase the maximum saving limits for participants. This resulted in a doubling of the SAYE savings limit from £250 a month to £500 a month in April 2014, as well as significant limit increases for SIP participants.
ProShare played key roles in gaining HM Treasury’s support for extending the SAYE contributions break period from 6 months to 12 months for all participants back in 2018 and, in July 2020, the extension of the ‘disqualifying event’ rule for EMI option holders who can no longer meet the relevant working time requirement because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ProShare has long campaigned for the modernisation of SAYE and the SIP, the UK’s flagship all-employee plans with more than 2.5m participants. We have recently been speaking with our issuer members about the future of the SIP and collating responses and evidence for HM Treasury on the impact that a reduction in the SIP holding period from 5 years to 3 years might have. We also provided a full response after speaking with our members to the Chancellor’s Call for Evidence on Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) schemes and plans.
We lobby on a range of ad-hoc issues affecting member companies, their employees, and the broader share plans industry, and we are always happy to field technical queries to HMRC for members on a ‘no-names’ basis where required. Technical detail on our current policy change objectives can be provided separately on request.
Member discounts and offers
Members receive substantial discounts when booking:
- Seminars, training courses and workshops
- Conference delegate places
- Tables at the Annual Awards
- Exclusive member-only events
Our members have the opportunity to post their share plans-related roles and vacancies on our website. We also promote our members’ events where these might be of interest to the wider membership through our newsletters, LinkedIn group and via our social media channels.
Working in share plans
ProShare is committed to helping share plans professionals to develop their own skills and capabilities (and those of their workforces), and to advance their careers in share plans. Our close relationship with the Chartered Governance Institute training team means that members can also benefit from the Institute’s wider training and development programme.
ProShare offers bespoke, on-site training sessions which our members with larger workforces engaged in the operation or administration of share plans find especially useful. This is an extremely cost-effective and efficient way to train groups of employees whilst minimizing impact to ‘BAU’ operations.
Our members have the opportunity to attend free webinars and to get involved in speaking at monthly webinars on hot topics. Previous webinars have included a Beginners Guide to IFRS2, a Participant Comms Masterclass, How to Set ESG Targets as well as many others.
All members receive a free copy of the annual ProShare SAYE & SIP Survey report. No other UK survey covers as much of the UK share plans market as this, which makes it an ideal tool for benchmarking plans against good practice and market trends. The 2020 Report will be launched in July 2021 and it will be fascinating to see exactly how much change was brought about to these key plans by the COVID-19 pandemic.
From time to time we commission additional independent research, working with carefully selected partners and academics. In 2017 we undertook research focussed on Millennials and their engagement with all-employee share plans and share ownership; the ‘Attitudes to Employee Share Ownership’ report.
For 2020-21 ProShare commissioned the Social Market Forum to undertake research to support our lobbying objectives and to inform and support the Share Plan industry. In May 2021 ProShare launched the SMF report - “A stake in success - Re-imagining employee share plans for the 2020’s” - with recommendations for broadening the use of share plans as the UK focuses on the economic recovery post COVID.
Our monthly e-mail newsletter now reaches close to a thousand industry contacts and provides up-to-date information and opinions on hot topics and technical developments, including topical articles from members. It also helps members to engage with our events, know what’s coming up, and plan and book their attendance in advance. Within our newsletters we offer members the opportunity to feature resources they are offering in the ‘what our members are doing section’.
ProShare is active on LinkedIn and Twitter, helping to spread the word on employee share ownership and related topics. We issue ‘thought leadership’ pieces via LinkedIn, and we also run a fast-growing LinkedIn group which serves as a helpful additional communication channel for all those with an interest in employee share ownership.
You can join us on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/proshare/
Our Twitter handle is @ProShareUK. We try to support members’ social media campaigns by sharing and liking posts.
We will continue to host virtual webinars and workshops on a regular basis until lockdown is lifted, at which point we can resume physical meetings and events. It’s likely that we will look to introduce hybrid events so that members can choose whether to join remotely or attend in person.
We continue to integrate our back office systems with those of the Chartered Governance Institute, to take advantage of the Institute’s greater reach and resources.
To see how you can get the most of your ProShare membership please contact:Click here to download the member benefits PDF
We offer a range of membership levels, designed to meet the needs and budgets of individuals and organisations involved in share plans. If you’re considering membership but are not sure which level would suit you best, do please contact us.