Employee incentives

Tailored equity incentives and bonus arrangements are critical for recruiting and retaining key talent. Our team are experts at designing bespoke remuneration structures to suit clients' specific objectives. Offering practical, commercial advice that respects market practice, we have a wealth of experience and are valued for our innovative approach. 
  • Profile
  • Experience
  • Key contacts
What stands us apart from other practices is the diversity of our client base. We work with FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and AIM companies, long-established private companies, start-ups, management teams and individual executives to advise on all aspects of remuneration.

Our expertise includes:

  • designing and implementing share plans and bonus schemes
  • guiding our clients through the legal, tax and regulatory aspects of extending participation in such arrangements
  • advising on reporting requirements and compliance with various remuneration regulations, including those applicable to financial institutions
  • assisting with corporate governance.

So whether you're a well-established organisation or someone looking to start up a business and recruit some key players, we can provide expert advice on the best way to incentivise your work force.

As well as our core incentives practice, we work closely with our colleagues in the employment team to advise on a plethora of mandates including:

  • structuring contracts for executives which comply with company law and corporate governance
  • advising on appointments and terminations of senior executives
  • considering the tax aspects of international assignments.   
We also support our corporate practice on the share plan aspects of transactions, and have particular expertise in designing share plans suitable for companies who are seeking a listing on AIM.  ​​​​​​

"The industry knowledge possessed by the team ranks as one of the best in London" 
The Legal 500 UK 2015

Financial services  

We advised a number of banks on the technical and practical implications of claw back, in particular in the context of new hires who are seeking to have their existing entitlements "bought out". 

easyHotel plc IPO

We advised on and implemented a bespoke share option arrangement appropriate for an AIM listed company and have subsequently put in place a tailored bonus plan. 

incadea plc

We advised on the first maturity of awards granted under a long term incentive plan and in relation to the impact of a takeover offer on outstanding awards. 

Estate agent 

We advised a well-known family owned estate agent on the introduction of a bespoke share plan to incentivise key employees, with a tailored exit strategy to enable award holders to realise value. 

Asset management group 

We assessed the merits of a judicial review claim in light of an HMRC challenge to the company's employee benefit trust. 


We assisted with a health check and update of ICAP's Sharesave Plan ahead of self-certification, and with the online registration of all of its share plans with HMRC. 

Diploma plc 

We advised Diploma on all aspects of its equity incentives, including guiding them through regulatory matters and the ongoing operation of their performance share plan.

Ariel Systems Group 

We advised the shareholders of Ariel Systems Group on its sale to ETX Capital. We advised on the unwinding of a complex incentive arrangement which had been put in place. 

Banking executives 

We advised a number of individuals employed in the financial services sector on the effect of a termination of employment on their bonus and incentives.  Also advising in the context of highly sensitive matters, including the impact of regulatory investigations.

Employee shareholder shares

We advised several clients on tax–efficient employee shareholder status shares including using growth shares.

Barbara Allen Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2231
M:  +44 7771 531 553 Email Barbara | Vcard Office:  London

Latest news & insights

24 Nov 2017

From Insights

The Budget - Personal service companies, tax and employment status

In Wednesday's Budget, the Chancellor confirmed that the Government intends to consult on extending to the private sector the amendments to IR35 which were introduced ..


11 Jul 2017

From Insights

Extension of deadline for filing Employment Related Securities (ERS) annual returns

HMRC has announced that the deadline for filing ERS annual returns for the 2016-17 tax year has been extended from 6 July 2017 to 24 August 2017.


05 Jan 2017

From Insights

The new regime for "buy-outs" – now in force

The new rules that apply to "buy-out" contracts concluded on or after 1 January 2017 are now in force. In Q4 of 2016, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) publish..


21 Dec 2016

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises Meggitt on disposal of Meggitt Target Systems to QinetiQ

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised FTSE 250 listed Meggitt PLC in relation to its sale of Meggitt Defence Systems Limited and Meggitt Holdings Canada Inc. (to..


16 Nov 2016

From Insights

The Investment Association takes a less prescriptive stance on executive pay structures

The IA has published revised principles of remuneration together with an open letter to the Remuneration Committee Chairmen of FTSE 350 companies which sets out issues..


15 Aug 2016

From Insights

Final Report from Executive Remuneration Working Group

The Executive Remuneration Working Group has published its Final Report on its review of executive remuneration in UK listed companies. In our update in May we summari..


09 Jun 2016

From Insights

Getting the green light

The changes to the PDMR rules are forcing companies to review the way in which they operate their share plans. PDMRs will also need to consider when they can take acti..


17 May 2016

From Insights

Remuneration structures for listed companies – are they fit for purpose?

A working group of the Investment Association has published an interim report on its review of executive pay in UK listed companies.


25 Feb 2016

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises on £162 million IPO for Shield Therapeutics plc

Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised Shield Therapeutics plc (“Shield”) on its £162 million AIM IPO.


11 Feb 2016

From Insights

Harmonising remuneration across the EU – will the Guidelines get us there?

In December 2015 the EBA published its final revised "Guidelines on Sound Remuneration Policies" and an opinion on the application of proportionality. We consider the ..


01 Feb 2016

From Insights

PRA consults on buy-outs of variable remuneration

A PRA consultation paper published earlier this month sets out the regulator's proposals for revising the terms on which variable awards that are forfeited when an emp..


18 Nov 2015

From Insights

The Investment Association publishes its Principles of Remuneration 2015

Updated Investment Association Principles of Remuneration (the Principles) were published on 11 November 2015 together with a letter to remuneration committee chairmen..


07 Aug 2015

From Insights

Stop press – further update on share scheme annual returns

HMRC have indicated that they will contact directly any companies who are required to re-submit their returns.


07 Jul 2015

From Insights

Share scheme annual returns – update from HMRC

We comment on the implications of the HMRC online system for submitting annual returns for the tax year 2014-15 being taken offline a few days before the deadline.


11 Mar 2015

From Insights

Remember to register your employee share plans

All UK employee share plans must now be registered online with HMRC. We set out the deadlines for companies operating such plans and flag some traps for the unwary!


19 Nov 2014

From Insights

UK's challenge to bonus cap likely to fail

The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has recommended that the ECJ rejects the UK Government's challenge to the cap on banker bonuses imposed by the EU..


© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.