require specialist financial advice because of their importance to their
staff and because of the corporate and tax laws which affect them.
Directors and employees with specialist skills or knowledge are key
employees of the companies they work for. To lose one through death or
incapacity can be damaging to the business. That is why taking out a
key-person insurance to protect the company is a wise move.
Key-person insurances can provide several benefits. These can include:
Paying the costs of a temporary replacement
Meeting the costs of recruiting a permanent replacement
Covering the cost of death or incapacity of a key member
The full scope of cover will depend on the type of policy purchased,
but companies ignore the risks of losing key staff at their peril. Shareholders,
bank managers, suppliers and customers may not be so laid back…
Share protection through life assurance
Directors' or partners' share agreements may provide for the remaining
directors to purchase the shares of other shareholding directors when
they die. However, there is a risk that the remaining directors may not
have sufficient funds to hand when a fellow director passes away unexpectedly.
One way round this is to take out life cover as a source of funding.
To arrange such cover requires the understanding and agreement of all
concerned. It will also require some careful figure work to determine
how much cover is required. But it will be a comfort to all directors
or partners of a business to know that their own or a colleague's death
will leave the other directors with sufficient support to carry out the
terms of their shareholders' agreement.
Pensions & raising capital
Directors may prefer to establish a separate pension plan from that
of their employees. The reasons for this are that the term of their employment
may be a fixed number of years, their tax position may be more complicated
than other employees, or they may prefer to set up a form of self administered
scheme more suitable to their circumstances.
Directors and partners may also wish to leverage their company pension
scheme at some stage to raise funding for the business. This may be a
tax- and cost-efficient way of funding the acquisition of commercial
In these circumstances, sound pensions advice will be invaluable.
Directors and staff benefits
Recruiting, motivating and retaining able staff is a key preoccupation
of many businesses and getting the rewards mix right is an important
ingredient. Remuneration menus made up of pensions, life insurance, tax
efficient bonuses and benefits are common in well-managed businesses.
But they require careful planning and selection depending on the type
of business and the type of staff who are involved. What motivates and
retains staff at an Internet start up business or a bioscience research
operation may require a different balance than at a manufacturing business
with a substantial production line workforce.
If staff are the keys to successful businesses, then well-founded and
well-managed reward strategies are vital. Taking the right advice early
on means that you can make the right moves sooner rather than later.
The result should be contented and efficient staff who are confident
that they are getting the best deal for their time and their labour.