north west firm announces shift to employee-owned structure

Top north west firm announces shift to employee-owned structure

A North West law firm that champions happiness and positivity among its employees has become employee owned.

The 85 employees of Chester-based Oliver & Co Solicitors now own 100% of the business through an employee ownership trust and will gain an equal share of the firm’s profits.

The former owners of Oliver & Co described the move as a “natural progression” for the firm which will “secure the business for the future”. Oliver & Co is the first law firm in Chester and North Wales to become employee owned.

Oliver & Co’s former owners, David Owen and Kay Cook, will remain with the firm in senior positions. Owen said:

“We’ve always prioritised happiness and positivity at Oliver & Co, so employee ownership was a natural progression for us.

By selling the business to our employees we can retain that special culture and secure the business for the future.”

Employee ownership is increasing across the UK and according to the Employee Ownership Association, companies that are employee owned, or who have a large and significant employee ownership stake, now contribute £30 billion to the UK’s GDP.

Cook explained why employee ownership made sense for Oliver & Co:

“Employee owned businesses tend to see higher levels of profitability and productivity, along with improved employee and customer satisfaction. Employee owned companies excel in engaging employees, who in turn drive performance and innovation.

We’ve always encouraged colleagues to make suggestions and contribute to the way the business is run. Becoming employee owned takes that a step further and gives our people a stake in the business and an equal share in our profits, no matter what their role or seniority.”

Employee ownership is one of the fastest growing business succession solutions in the UK, where there are now more than 1,000 employee-owned businesses, with the sector more than doubling in the past three years.

The fast pace of growth amongst businesses has taken off with the use of the employee ownership trust (EOT), introduced by the government in 2014 to encourage long-term employee ownership, and one in every 20 private company sales is now to an EOT, with Oliver & Co Solicitors joining a network of EOTs in the UK that include Richer Sounds and Go Ape.

James de le Vingne, Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), said:

“We congratulate our members Oliver & Co Solicitors on its transition to employee ownership; securing the ethos, values, and culture of the business, as well as rooting jobs in Chester.

Businesses that give employees a stake and a say build trust and shared responsibility, uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose, and leaving businesses in a better position to flex and adapt.”

Oliver & Co’s employees will be eligible to become employee owners after working for the business for six months.

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