Gill Financial Move to Employee OwnershipNeil Hardie
An Angus financial services firm has become the first in its sector in Scotland to move to employee ownership.
All shares of Montrose-based Gill Financial have been placed into an employee ownership trust, with its seven staff becoming direct beneficiaries of the partnership.
The trust will take on full ownership immediately, securing the future of the company, which looks after £100 million pound of assets for its clients.
Roy Gill, who founded the business with his wife Lesley in 2000, said they never contemplated selling to a larger rival, despite receiving multiple emails most weeks from prospective buyers.
He said: “This move is about the brilliant team here and our clients first and foremost.
“A business does not exist without clients and we need to look after them before anyone else.
“An acquisition would have put so much at risk – and I hated the thought of that.
“For a start I didn’t want to see our staff’s futures put into uncertainty, or for the culture to change so significantly they felt forced to leave.
“Likewise, we know we deliver great value for our clients across pensions, investments and mortgage advice.
“The brand has been built up through hard work and that’s a precious thing.
“More often than not independent financial advisers are swallowed up by consolidators, with customers seeing increased fees and staff adapting to new ways of working. We had to break the mould.”
The founders will remain with the company until the handover takes place the next three to four years, with Mr Gill taking a less active role in the business while still passing on his knowledge and guidance.
Gill Financial’s step to become employee-owned was enabled by Stirling-based Ownership Associates, a consultancy that provides legal, regulatory, financial and business advisory guidance.
Carole Leslie, Ownership Associates’ founder said: “We’re thrilled to achieve a real milestone with them as the first firm in their space to do it.
“Founders like Roy should take huge amounts of pride in what they build and it makes full sense to pass that to the team that helped them achieve it.
“We’re seeing throughout Scotland a growing realisation that here is a better way to structure business, especially in these challenging times, the huge boost in togetherness, team working and efficiency savings that have resulted from employee-owned firms pulling through.
“Despite the turbulence, demand for our services is growing rapidly – and we fully believe that firms taking stock during and after the pandemic and will see the benefits of employee ownership in even sharper focus.”
The deal was further supported through legal advice provided by Lindsays Solicitors and accountancy guidance by MMG Archbold.
Douglas Roberts, directors with Lindsays said: “It was a pleasure to help Roy and the team at Gill Financial in their move to employee ownership.
“Working with Ownership Associates is always a great experience given their experience and they made the transition very smooth.
“Gill Financial now has a secure and bright future and their customers have the comfort that the culture and standards of the company will remain the same.”