Discover why Penta is making every employee a shareholder

Oliver October 2021 Fintech Content Editor 3 min

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At Penta we are convinced that we are building something great. To achieve this, it is important to us that our employees can participate directly in the company’s success. To meet this requirement even better, Penta has introduced a virtual share option program (VSOP) in July 2021. With this program, we offer all employees virtual company shares so that they can directly participate financially in the company’s value growth. 

Our Head of People and Culture, Dan Hardaker, explains why we implemented the VSOP program at Penta.

Dan, every Pentonian has become a virtual shareholder of Penta. What does that actually mean?

A Virtual Share Programme generally means a scheme designed to reward employees in a liquidity or exit event such as for example the sale of the company or an initial public offering. There are different types of reward programmes or schemes. At Penta, we operate a Virtual Share Programme and issue so-called Phantom Shares. This means, simply speaking, employees are owning virtual shares in the company instead of actual shares. The value of these is directly connected to the value of the company, so, when the company value increases, the value of the virtual shares increase as well.

What made Penta set up such a scheme?

Our Pentonians really care about the company we are building, and we wanted to reward that. Working for a scaling organisation can mean intense workloads and challenging work but it’s also hugely rewarding.  It’s a great place to develop professionally and personally and by awarding Virtual Shares it also means it can be very rewarding financially too.

What is the process behind it?

Whenever someone joins us at Penta we will give them Virtual Shares in the company.  The number of shares is linked to the level of the job and they ‘vest’ over a number of years, meaning the longer a Pentonians stays with Penta the more valuable these become. We give Pentonians access to an online system that allows them to keep track of their vesting.

Can you give us an idea how the reaction among Pentonians was?

Oh, they were excited. We really saw that this is something that everyone is very positive about — and not just because of the financial aspect. Moreover, this is also a great advantage when we recruit new talent for Penta. Especially, people with an international background ask for this kind of program. As the recruitment market is one of the hottest in recent years, our VSOP program is a big advantage when we talk to potential employees.

So, is it not really common in Germany to give out employee stock options?

Employee stock ownership programs (ESOP) have been around for a long time, foremost in the Anglo-Saxon world. ESOPs are particularly popular with startups, as they make them attractive to high-skilled employees in the early phase when otherwise only comparatively low salaries can be paid. But genuine employee stock option programs, which are common in the USA, are rarely found in Germany. This is primarily due to tax reasons. That is why we at Penta have opted for virtual shares.

Great, Dan! Anything else you would like to mention?

The VSOP program is by far not the only benefit when working at Penta. We offer great office environments (with dogs), flexible working options and very rewarding work that will help you develop.

So, if you want to join us, check our current vacancies or contact the Talent Team.

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