Settlement Agreement Case Study: C-Suite Level Settlement with Shares

A client recently instructed us having searched for “same day settlement agreement solicitor” and we came up in Google. I’m pleased about that, and while we can often deal with matters on the same day, I’ll always question why things need to be done so urgently. In this case, the client’s usual solicitor had gone on holiday and so it would be delayed a couple of weeks – the client didn’t mention that he’d been discussing the settlement with his employer for 6 weeks already.

Anyway, this client was c-suite – a Chief Financial Officer for a large insurance company – and so was used to high quality, efficient legal services. His company, however, initially only offered £350 plus VAT as a contribution to legal costs, but we successfully managed to get that increased to take into account the urgency and level of compensation paid.

His settlement agreement involved a six-figure sum, which bearing in mind his package was over £300k a year plus benefits and shares, was reasonable.

It also had within the settlement agreement issues relating to shares.

He had been required to buy shares in the business, although a loan was given by the company to pay for the shares. This meant that on exit the loan needed to be repaid out of the money from the sale of shares.

Moreover, there were share save plans and other share options / LTIPs, which were addressed within the settlement agreement.

While we’re not regulated to advise on whether he should sell shares or not, we can advise on the wording of settlement agreements as they relate to share ownership and dealing with the issues there.

Given the value of the settlement, it exceeded the HMRC permitted £30,000 tax free limit. We therefore also provided advice on this, and the tax indemnity in the agreement.

The client ultimately signed the agreement following some amendments based on our advice and was very happy with the outcome.

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