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ScotEq says share plan business will boom

Scottish Equitable believes that reforms in emp loyee share ownership schemes ann oun ced in last week&#39s pre-Budget statement will boost the high-net-worth individual investment market, providing IFAs with good business opportunities.

The changes will see an increase in the number of employees of small businesses who are eligible to receive shares under the Government&#39s enterprise management incentive scheme.

At present, smaller companies can offer only up to 15 key employees options on shares worth up to £100,000. Companies are allowed to grant options on a maximum of £1.5m of their shares at any one time.

The Government is planning to abolish the limit on the number of employees and instead limit the total value of the shares in an EMI option. The value would rise to £2.5m from £1.5m.

Employees will also be able to benefit from business assets taper relief from April 2001, which will help them avoid capital gains tax when they sell their shares.

ScotEq personal investment development manager Richard Leeson says: “The massive increase in emp loyees with share opt ions has been one of the key drivers behind the high-net-worth market boom. IFAs will need to be even more inv olved in this market to maximise the massive potential offered by this new growth sector.”

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