Proud to employee owned

The Power of Employee Ownership

On the 21st of June, we are celebrating Employee Ownership Day and taking this opportunity to reflect on the significant impact employee ownership has had on Wise Investment and our valued clients. This model has not only reshaped our company’s structure but also reinforced our commitment to fostering long-term relationships and delivering exceptional service.

 

A Foundation Built on Trust

Wise Investment was founded in 1992 by Tony and Judith Yarrow with the aim of helping private individuals manage their investments and financial affairs. From the outset, the Yarrows focused on building long-term relationships rather than simply selling products. This founding principle remains at the heart of our business today, guiding our interactions and decisions.

 

The Path to Employee Ownership

As the business grew, Tony began contemplating succession planning. Many financial planning firms are typically owned by their founders, and upon their retirement, these businesses or their client banks are often sold. This can leave clients without a trusted adviser or with a new one they have never met, working for a company they have never heard of. Staff who have been with the company for years may face redundancy. Tony wanted to avoid these scenarios and discovered the concept of employee ownership.

In 2013, we established an Employee Benefit Trust, initially owning 51% of the business. Over time, more of the business was transferred into the trust, and since 2021, Wise Investment has been 100% employee-owned. This transition to employee ownership has safeguarded the company’s future, ensuring continuity and stability for both our clients and staff.

 

A Unique Ownership Model

While employee ownership is gaining popularity, many businesses achieve this through share ownership schemes where employees buy shares, or founders/existing owners retain a large portion while employees own a smaller share. Our model of 100% employee ownership is rare and distinct. It allows us to focus entirely on our clients and staff without the pressure of external shareholders. When people retire or leave the business, ownership remains in the hands of the remaining employees. This structure ensures that Wise Investment is here for the long haul, providing consistent and reliable service.

 

Governance and Leadership

Despite being 100% employee-owned, Wise Investment operates as a commercial business. Our board is responsible for setting the vision, mission, and values, just like in any other commercial company. The key difference is that everyone who works for Wise Investment shares in the responsibility and rewards of our ongoing success.

We have Trustees who have full oversight of the management of Wise Investment, ensuring that the company is run in the best way possible for our employees and clients. The board appoints one trustee, while two others are elected by the staff, promoting a democratic and transparent governance structure.

 

Employee Engagement and Empowerment

At Wise Investment, we believe in the power of employee engagement. We have an employee council with representatives from each team who meet regularly. These representatives provide feedback, share ideas, and voice concerns to the trustees. This engagement ensures that employees have a meaningful voice in the company, leading to greater job satisfaction, rewards, and opportunities.

 

Ownership Culture and Innovation

Each of us has a vested interest in the success, reputation, and longevity of Wise Investment. We are encouraged to behave like owners, which often leads to innovations and participation that might not otherwise happen. This ownership culture fosters a strong sense of responsibility and collaboration. It is much easier to run a company when everyone shares a clear vision, passion for their work, and a willingness to share ideas.

 

Client-Centric Approach

Our unique ownership model significantly benefits our clients. Without the pressure of external shareholders, we can focus entirely on delivering exceptional service and maintaining long-term relationships. Clients can have confidence in the continuity of their adviser relationships and the stability of the company. This approach has been fundamental to our success and is a key reason why clients choose to stay with Wise Investment for the long term.

 

The Broader Impact of Employee Ownership

The benefits of employee ownership extend beyond our company. Research has shown that employee-owned businesses tend to be more resilient, with higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction. These businesses often perform better financially and are more likely to retain employees. At Wise Investment, we have experienced these benefits firsthand. Our employees are more motivated and committed, knowing that their efforts directly contribute to the success of the company.

 

A Commitment to the Future

Looking ahead, we remain committed to the principles of employee ownership. This model not only secures the future of Wise Investment but also ensures that we continue to attract and retain talented individuals who share our vision and values. By fostering a culture of ownership, we can continue to innovate and provide the best possible service to our clients.

 

Conclusion

The journey to 100% employee ownership has been transformative for Wise Investment. It has strengthened our commitment to our clients, empowered our employees, and secured the future of our company. As we celebrate Employee Ownership Day, we reflect on the positive impact this model has had on our business and look forward to continued success and growth. Find out more about us at Wise Investment and discover the further benefits of Employee Ownership here.

 

Claire Burrows

Senior Operations Technician

Employee Trustee

 

Author

Claire Burrows