THE EDITO

The 5th Symposium for Company Saving Plans

This event, organised by FONDACT on 6th February 2018, was attended by  some 500 participants. The IAFP was represented inter alia by Jean-Michel Content, Secretary General, Paul Maillard and Jean-Claude Mothié.

The first keynote address was given by Jean-Pierre Balligand (50 years of profit-sharing: which present status?).  This opening speech was followed by three roundtables that focussed on the following topics: a) SMEs: how to go further?; b) Profit-sharing: a virtuous mechanism; and c) Profit-sharing: a force for to-morrow.

There were six presentations in each roundtable, including by two or three MPs, which provided an opportunity of wider debates in each roundtable.   

Between the roundtables, there were two further keynote addresses.  The first by Jean-Daniel Levy (Harris Interactive) on French people and Company Saving Plans and the second by Benoît de Juvigny (AMF) on Employee Share Ownership: which place in global shareholding.

The Symposium was closed by Michel Bon, President of FONDACT , who said especially that “… at this stage, it was more useful to quit the technical aspects in order to provide politicians with a few simple basic points”.

He then focused on four key points:

  1. “Participatory management is not only a subject of wages or savings, it is, first of all, an economic advantage … increasing participatory management, making it more attractive, means surely the fostering of our economy’s competitiveness
  2. “Participatory management is a tool for the present time and should be a project for the present Presidency … Internationalisation increases competition and it applies a new strong pressure on the production costs, especially on salaries. If we consider that, for the last 15 years, the dividend distribution to shareholders of companies belonging to the CAC40 increased at an average rate of 6% per year, while salaries hardly increased by 2% per year, such a gap represents an obvious issue … When we look at it, the most evident way to deal with this problem is precisely through participatory management -   on  good days, employees benefit in those circumstances through share ownership or through their company savings plans.  While on bad days, the competitiveness of the enterprise has not been jeopardised by irreversible decisions.  France has a unique know-how and skills to address these challenges. Faced by the new and dangerous struggle between capital and labour, we have a real advantage: let us use it completely
  3. “’Keeping it simple and don’t give way to tinkering’:  During the long story of company savings plans, for each Government there was the temptation to use that tool to address temporary economic issues … These must consist of genuine savings, because success is uncertain, but savings are permanent.  When faced with the general pessimism regarding our systems of social care and pensions, this kind of savings is necessary - it makes people more confident in the future
  4. “Avoiding confusion through wrong messages:  The worst message is the taxation of company savings plans as part of the social package … Among the good companies, i.e. the profitable ones, the best are those that share their success with their employees through employee ownership, profit-sharing and financial participation and, in fact, these are the only enterprises to be liable to that social package. Of course, everyone knows the financial situation in France and even if the social package is far less profitable than has been said, its suppression represents a cost of some €1.5 billion.  So let us start with a five years evolution, with the aim of its suppression, in order to change the message at once ...”  SEE MINUTES

 

At the beginning of a great year!

Among the wishes that I sent to you last year, one of them was not too much risky, and in fact it was achieved: “there is a good chance that, next spring, we will get a President and a Government willing strongly to revive the Financial Participation”. It actually occurred, and more, as soon as in autumn, President Macron announced his willingness of “reviewing” this topic in 2018 and, without any delay, several working groups were launched, under the authority of the minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire.

As Fondact repeats it continuously, participatory management is first of all a mean to reinforce the companies. It is great if it allows employees to purchase their dwellings, or to improve their pensions, all the better if it makes easier the financing of the investments of the companies. But what is the most important is that it improves the enterprises. Better social climate, better productivity, greater dynamism and, finally, higher wages: it is what the companies point out when actively practicing participatory management. In front of all the deficiencies incurred by France, regarding employment, foreign trade or budget, we do need more solid and efficient enterprises. Participatory management is an efficient means to achieve it. On top of that, this kind of management gets everyone to agree: employees and managers, trade and business unions, right and left wings.

Our Government seems to agree with that analysis as far as they include the reforms to be carried out in our field in the wider framework of the competitiveness of the companies. For that reason we begin 2018 with a better hope than ever. Our association is active, in any place where the announced reforms are coming up, with a very simple say: widening, simplification, tax issues.  

Widening means making, at last, participatory management attractive enough for a small enterprise because it is there that the link between the individual work and the success of all is the most obvious. But it also means to spread it to the Public Sector: if incentive payment is helpful for the progress of enterprises, we don’t see why it could not as well make easier the reforms of the Public Sector.

Simplification is a constant issue in our societies which are always enacting new laws and rules. The 64 pages of our Work Code which are dedicated to participatory management need such a simplification and Fondact have a lot of ideas to achieve it.

At last, tax issues. We demonstrated that the introduction in 2008 of a “social flat rate” on Financial Participation and its sharp increase in 2012 have broken the momentum of this mechanism and that without that disastrous idea, the public finances would likely be better sustained nowadays. Let’s get it over with this absurd tax that hits only the best companies, those which are profitable, and which, in surplus, share their profits with their employees.

This year 2018 should be the most positive for our thoughts since a lot of time! We are ready, with your active support, to manage the foreseen progress and enhance it.

Michel BON

Président de FONDACT

FONDACT: Reviewing Financial Participation: “ I would like that next year, we open a true debate on what an enterprise consists in” the President said on TV the 15 of October last. Emmanuel Macron said that he wanted “a genuine debate”  in 2018 to” have a new view on that pretty Gaullist invention of profit-sharing and participation”, in order” for all employees to get their fair part of any improvement” .The debates on these subjects should begin in the coming weeks.

FONDACT, through several workshops organised during the last years, has a lot of proposals to enlarge the number of beneficiaries of Financial Participation, to facilitate the employee ownership in private companies, to simplify the tranmissions, and to make the profit-sharing mechanisms more attractive in the very small enterprises. The association will provide its contribution to the coming debates with the support of its Members and of all those who share their thoughts.

 

Position paper for the 2017 parliamentary elections

ITeilhabe am Erfolg der Wirtschaft und leistet dadurch einen wesentlichen Beitrag zur Vermögensbildung. In seinem heute veröffentlichten Positionspapier zur Bundestagswahl fordert der Bundesverband Mitarbeiterbeteiligung die Parteien auf, sich in ihren Wahlprogrammen für eine stärkere Förderungen der Mitarbeiterkapitalbeteiligung und der Vermögensbildung in Arbeitnehmerhand einzusetzen. "Wenn wir vermeiden wollen, dass weiterhin nur eine kleine Bevölkerungsgruppe als Eigentümer von Unternehmen und Kapital unmittelbar vom Erfolg der deutschen Wirtschaft profitiert, müssen wir die Beteiligung breiter Bevölkerungskreise am Kapital stärker fördern“, betont Dr. Heinrich Beyer, Geschäftsführer des Bundesverbands Mitarbeiterbeteiligung. (Mehr …)

The involvement of employees in the capital of enterprises opens the success of the economy to broad sections of the population and thereby makes a significant contribution to asset formation. In its position paper published today on the Bundestag election, the Federal Association of Employee Participation (AGP) calls on the parties to use their electoral programs to promote greater employee participation and asset formation in the workforce. "If we want to avoid the fact that only a small population group as the owners of companies and capital directly benefits from the success of the German economy, we must promote the participation of large populations in the capital more strongly", emphasizes Dr. Heinrich Beyer. (More …)

Dr Heinrich BEYER - AGP

translated from the German Source : “Mitarbeiteraktien stärker fördern : 

At this year-end, I would like to make an overview of 2016.

Even if we can regret that the new European Commission does not seem to be very active in supporting our initiatives in the field of Financial Participation, nevertheless, we have a new hope coming from the assessment of one of the candidates to the Presidency of the French Republic pointing out the interest of financial participation in the social dialogue.

We also are happy to point out the major achievements of our main partners (AGP in Germany, SNPI in the Netherlands and IfsProshare in the UK, ETION in Belgium). Besides, IAFP took the opportunity of its participation in several congresses, seminars and meetings to reinforce its cooperation with new partners.

We do hope that 2017 will give us new opportunities to enlarging our Partnership with others, and that the possible changes resulting from elections in some countries will open new doors for the development of our main subject.

In the meantime, I wish you, on behalf of IAFP, a Happy New Year.

Jean-Michel Content (Secretary General of IAFP)

 

OBITUARY

The Centre is deeply saddened to report the death two weeks ago of Dr Raymond Allouf, former secretary general of the Paris-based International Association for Financial Participation (IAFP). Senior Centre Davos attendees will remember his lucid and sharp summaries, delivered in perfect English, about French style employee share ownership. Raymond was a highly-trained food chemist and engineer who had several worldwide patents over metallurgical processes, relevant to his work as a Metal Box UK director for several years. He was a top graduate of the EN écoles d'ingénieurs, a holder of the Lavoisier Medal – and at the Centre’s last Paris conference, Raymond and Centre chairman Malcolm Hurlston, CBE, both received the prestigious Rémy Schlumberger Award for services to the employee share ownership movement. Raymond was in his 80s when he died in Paris.
Our warmest condolences to Sophie and the rest of his family.

Fred Hackworth (International Director of the ESOP Centre) 

TESTIMONIALS

From David A. Hildebandt (President of the IAFP)

“As President of the International Association for Financial Participation, it was my good fortune to work with Raymond Allouf as the Secretary General of IAFP.  I first met Raymond in the mid 1990’s as re revitalized the mission of IAFP to support global financial participation for the benefit of both employers and employees. Raymond was a champion of financial participation for both his employer and for the employee association in their financial participation programs.  He knew that financial participation benefitted both the employer and the employee.  The employees became happier and more satisfied in their work knowing that they would directly benefit from the success of the enterprise. The employer became more profitable through the participation of the employees in its success. Even national economies benefited from the enhanced profitability. Raymond’s influence went beyond France and was influential in promoting financial participation throughout the EU and America.  From those of us working in financial participation,  “Thank You”

From Kevin O’KELLY 

I am deeply saddened by the news of Raymond’s death.  I first met Raymond in 2000 at a breakfast meeting organised by the Irish ProShare Association.  Following the meeting he and the IAFP President, David Hildebrandt, visited the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND), where one of my responsibilities as Research Manager was to manage studies into employee financial participation.  The link with Raymond and the IAFP proved to be valuable for Eurofound in the following years, and for the European Commission DG Employment and Social Affairs, as we worked on the 2002 Communication, On a framework for the promotion of employee financial participation.  Raymond made important and helpful suggestions during the drafting of this Communication.

Raymond invited me to become a member of the Executive Committee, so as to get a EU perspective on financial participation.  In this capacity I was closely involved with Raymond and David in organising a European Commission funded project to draft a Model Plan for Financial Participation in the European Union which was completed in 2005, one of the outstanding achievements of the IAFP in recent years.

There is no doubt that in his capacity as Secretary General of the IAFP, Raymond made an important and lasting contribution to the promotion and dissemination of employee financial participation across European countries and, indeed, globally.

Ar dheas Dé go raibh a anam.

From George Tuthill (Hon. President Irish ProShare Association and Executive Member of IAFP)

I was saddened to learn of the death of my dear friend Raymond Allouf whom I first met over 20 years ago. He single-handedly resuscitated the declining IAFP and his bounteous energy and drive ensured its survival. The strength of today’s IAFP is testimony to Ray’s involvement and dedication over many long years. He gave his time so freely and was always available to give council and indeed support both members and others with participation in many projects and conferences.

He was a mentor to many, myself included, and the world of Employee Financial Participation will be the poorer for his passing.

To me he was “the Godfather of Employee Share Ownership”. 

 

Will the Millennial Generation Cause the End of Employer Sponsored Financial Participation?

And

How to Prevent such Extinction

By

David A Hildebrandt*

The threat is the attitude and habits of the Millennial Generation of workers, generally defined as those born after 1996, and which will constitute over one-half of the workforce in the next five to ten years. Recent polls by the Gallup organization, and the Pugh Research Center for example show that:

  1. Only 29% of Millennials are emotionally and behaviorally connected to their jobs.
  2. Millennial workers are mobile-On average 21% of Millennials changed jobs in the last 12 months.
  3. Retraining new Millennial workers costs the US Employers $30.5 billion annually.
  4. Millennials generally want to be in control of their savings, but do not have a financial plan for such savings.
  5. Increasing numbers of Millennials are independent contractors or self-employed, thus rejecting the typical historical employer/employee relationship.
  6. Millennials get their financial education on the internet not from group employer meetings or one on one meetings with financial experts.
  7. Millennials would rather work at a modest paying job for a socially conscious employer than at a high paying job for which they are qualified than in an industry or employer, which they do not perceive as socially conscious.

The conclusion to the above is that traditional employer sponsored financial participation programs no longer meet the needs of the Millennial worker, and that such plans are in danger of extinction in spite of the documented benefits of financial participation programs to workers, employers and the national and global economies.

Historically, the value of Employer sponsored financial participation programs is well established.  Properly administered and communicated, employer sponsored financial participation programs have the following benefits:

  1. Workers are mores satisfied in their job;
  2. Workers, therefore become more productive.
  3. The enterprise for which they work becomes more profitable and competitive.
  4. The local, regional and national economies become more profitable and competitive.
  5. Wealth is accumulated by workers for future needs, thus lessening the social burden on the government.

However, to maximize the above benefits, employer sponsored financial participation programs must be supported by the following pillars:

  1. Employer support, administration and communication to workers.
  2. Recognition by labor organizations of the benefits of financial participation.
  3. National and Regional Government support through tax incentives.
  4. Employee and employer education on financial literacy matters.          

The International Association for Financial Participation Iafp/aifp and its local members have been the voice of education and support for financial participation programs for more than twenty-five years.

Further research is needed to document what Millennial workers would find attractive in a financial participation program.  IAFP is beginning a global study with other organizations to determine the elements of a successful Millennial Financial Participation Program in the new paradigm of a Millennial workforce with the attributes documented above.

Do you Agree or Disagree with this Edito?   IAFP and the author of this editorial, David Hildebrandt would like to hear from you, especially if you are a Millennial or an employer of Millennials.

PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN THIS IMPORTANT DIALOGUE BY JOINING THE IAFP CHAT GROUP ON LINKEDIN iafp-aipf, OR BY DIRECT E-MAIL TO iafp.aipf@gmail.com.

David Hildebrandt is the current President of the International Association for Financial Participation (IAFP), based in Paris, France. Mr. Hildebrandt is a US based attorney and Certified Public Accountant, with more than 40 years of experience as a partner in major global law firms in representing employers, global governments, and organizations which support Financial Participation.  For 30 years he was the General Counsel to the largest US association of employers which support financial participation plans, PSCA, and is a member of the American Bar Association College of Employee Benefits Counsel. References cited in this article are readily available on the internet.

 

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