IPSA has made good progress in our discussions with the Government around the viability of the Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP).
Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance Michael D’Arcy has indicated that he’s receptive to our concerns that KEEP is not fit for purpose in its current form because it would exclude too many start-up companies and SMEs – particularly in the FinTech sector.
The Department of Finance recognises the pressing need for an employee share ownership scheme which serves the needs of the SMEs by helping them to compete for talent with larger indigenous and multinational employers.
Minister D’Arcy has asked IPSA to demonstrate the ways in which KEEP is not working, and said the Government will not be found wanting if it is clear that the scheme is not viable.
IPSA has now been tasked to present comparative evidence from other jurisdictions which have successfully introduced similar schemes, and also from companies which have not or cannot adopt the KEEP scheme because of its restrictive nature.
IPSA has produced a review of the KEEP scheme for SMEs. KEEP – Making it Work includes the views and the thoughts of the leaders of many FinTech and InsurTech firms in Ireland. Read it here. A big thank you must go to Dogpatch Labs for their help putting us in touch with the start-up community for KEEP reform.
We are also looking forward to meeting with Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys over the coming weeks to discuss potential improvements to other existing share schemes in Ireland, in particular how employee ownership trusts can help companies with succession planning.
The time is right to conduct a review of existing share schemes right across the board in Ireland to identify improvements and implement best practice at all levels.