Equiom Corporate Services (QFC) LLC provides business-enabling solutions to international & local Qatari businesses. Equiom can provide a number of options to suit your needs, whether you already have a presence in the Middle East or you’re planning to expand into the region.
International employee benefit schemes are a key consideration for employers who wish to retain and attract the best talent, ensuring a loyal and dedicated workforce.
Most employees now expect global pension plans and end of service benefits as a vital part of their overall compensation package.
Equiom has considerable experience in this area and offers a number of options when it comes to trustee services for pension arrangements, from employee benefits schemes and pensions to savings and share plans for expatriates and employers.
Our range of services are offered in a number of jurisdictions around the world and include:
- End of Service Benefit Plans
- International Pension Plans
- Employee Benefit Trusts
- Employee Ownership Trusts
End of Service Benefit Plans
End of service gratuity is a statutory obligation for companies across many Middle Eastern jurisdictions and is designed to help fund employees’ future retirement needs. The requirement for a company to pay End of Service Benefits (EOSB) is well known in this region and a frequently talked about subject. Equiom are the market leading trustee in the Middle East with over 20 years of experience and hold the prestigious role of Master Trustee to the DIFC Workplace Savings Plan (DEWS).
International Pension Plans
An International Pension Plan (IPP) involves a defined contribution plan that combines investment, administration and trust services which can be tailored to your company’s specific needs.
IPPs are particularly popular with companies who have employees who work abroad on international assignments or are employed on a globally mobile basis.
IPPs enable organisations to offer an advantageous pension scheme as part of an employee’s remuneration package - essential for attracting and retaining talent for multinational corporations.
Employers have been utilising IPP arrangements over the years as an ideal solution for employees that either:
- Move from their home country and are not able to remain in their home country pension scheme
- Are employed in a country that has insufficient or no pension availability
- Require a ‘top up’ to the local pension provision
IPPs provide flexibility in several areas such as:
- Contribution percentages for both employers and employees
- Currency and type of investment
- Vesting scales for employer contributions
- Number of countries and employer linked entities included in the IPP
- Benefit distribution options – lump sum, annuity, drawdown
- Portability of the members' pension pot
Employee Benefit Trusts
Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) have been established for several years to encourage employee share participation, acting as an important incentive for staff loyalty and productivity.
The term EBT is applied to a number of different types of trust. In general, an employer sets up an EBT as a vehicle to reward, motivate and incentivise employees. The benefits provided may be a share of profits, shares in the employer company, cash distributions or other employee incentives.
The features of EBTs include:
- A discretionary trust holding assets on behalf of a class of beneficiaries
- The trust is funded by the employer company
- The trustees provide employee benefits in recognition of performance and other related factors
- It is at the decision of the trustees only as to whom may benefit from the trust assets and the extent of such benefit
Benefits of EBTs:
- Share warehousing removes complex and costly UK share buyback provisions
- Private equity - allowing the company to buy back shares of a departing executive
- EBTs have been used as a market maker for the sale and purchase of shares in the employer company
- Tax considerations including capital gains tax and corporation tax
Employee Ownership Trusts
An Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) is a form of trust which holds the shares in a trading company for the benefit of employees. Unlike a conventional employee benefit trust, any benefit it confers on employees must include all of them (although a qualifying period of up to 12 months is allowed) on the same terms. EOTs allow shareholders of trading companies to sell some or all of their shares, while allowing those companies to continue under the same stewardship, creating a platform for continued growth and success.
Benefits of EOTs:
- Shareholders can sell their shares for full market value (based on an independent valuation)
- The directors and senior management can remain in place and continue to run the company
- No capital gains, income or inheritance tax liabilities should arise on the disposal of a controlling interest in a company to an EOT (or on the subsequent receipt of the purchase price by the former shareholders)
- Companies controlled by EOTs are also able to pay to employees cash bonuses of up to £3,600 each year without any income tax liability, provided that these are paid to all qualifying employees on the same terms
For more information regarding any of the above plans, please get in touch with Chris Cain, Mary Craven, Graham Marsh or Joe Cheung.
Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited is the Master Trustee and Operator of DEWS and is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
This material is intended only for Professional Clients and Market Counterparties as defined by the DFSA, and no other person should act upon it. However all employers and employees participating in an Employee Money Purchase Scheme will be treated as Retail Clients under the DFSA requirements.
Any underlying investment options which may be selected in the structure can carry investment risk, whereby the value of the underlying investments can go down as well as up.
Equiom provides a range of people services in Qatar that can be tailored to suit any company, regardless of its size or the number of employees.
Our highly trained team can support your organisation’s needs, whether you are looking to reduce your operational costs or simply do not have the in-house expertise or resource available.
We offer turnkey visa services for companies of any size in Qatar. Our multinational, highly trained Labour & Immigration team can handle all PRO and visa formalities from start to finish, including employment visas, family visas, visit visas, multi-entry visas, short-term visas, or even visa cancellation.
Equiom provides an unrivalled level of service with a fully dedicated client relationship team on hand 24/7 to provide clients with real time notifications.
Our corporate insight gives you valuable foresight
For clients thinking of setting up a new business or re-structuring an existing company in Qatar, Equiom simplifies the process by providing an appropriate solution and structure for the company.
Equiom is able to provide market-leading corporate services, helping clients to meet their business needs, while protecting their ownership and controlling their interests every step of the way.
Our Structure Set Up & Support services in Qatar include:
- Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Support Services Provider (SSP)
- QFC set up and structuring services, as well as formation of a Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- For those companies eligible for 100% foreign ownership in Qatar, Equiom can assist with company set up and the provision of complementary support services
- Establishing a branch of a foreign company in the region. This is, however, subject to market restrictions, which Equiom is able to guide you through
- Establishing a Trade Representative Office. This type of representation is useful in introducing your products to Qatari companies through marketing and promotions
- Change of local partner to our managed Links Group Qatari owned corporate partner
- Corporate restructuring to consolidate foreign party beneficial ownership and control
- Government liaison and PRO support services
- Company Secretarial services
- Escrow services
- Notarisation & Attestation services; including qualification documents such as degree certificates, high school certificates, professional awards and certificates; Registrar-issued documents including birth, marriage, death and adoption certificates; company documents such as Memorandum of Association, Power of Attorney and Board Resolutions, Certificate of Incorporation and Certificates of Incumbency; as well as police reports
Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Support Services Provider (SSP)
Equiom is proud to be one of a small number of ‘Approved Support Service Providers’ in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and is the trusted advisor to many organisations.
A Special Purpose Company (SPC) in the QFC can execute transactions and be used by firms to obtain financing for a specific purpose while limiting the shareholder’s risk. Alternatively, it can be used to place assets in a structure where they can be more easily managed. In addition, by virtue of a SPC structure in the QFC, companies can enjoy attractive tax rates and the flexibility of carrying out a wide range of activities to support the execution of different types of transactions.
SPC’s are required to appoint and retain a QFC Authority approved SSP, such as Equiom, to perform corporate and administrative services.
We can provide one or more of the following:
- Management and administrative services
- Registered agent services
- Director services
- Company secretary services
- Authorised signatory services
- Registered office, place of business or address
Trust is something that is earned
Operating throughout the world’s most stable and reputable jurisdictions, our international trust and foundation specialists identify the most appropriate trust structures to protect and enhance your private or corporate wealth and assets.
Our experienced teams operate in both common law and civil law jurisdictions. We guide you through the complexities of local laws and regulations to find the right solution for you, organising the initial establishment of a trust or foundation and administering it carefully to maximise the benefits. We ensure its legal and tax status is maintained and provide regular accounting and financial reporting.
Over the years, we have earned an enviable reputation as leading professional trustees, dedicated to maintaining our clients’ prosperity. We aim to give you more control over your assets today, and more confidence about your holdings tomorrow – helping ensure that your family, employees, or favoured charities are well looked after for years to come.
Through Equiom's global network of offices, we can assist with:
- Private trust companies
- Managed trust companies
- Employee benefit trusts
- Employee ownership trusts
- Charitable trusts
- Property unit trusts
- Purpose trusts
- Will trusts/pilot trusts
- Executor services
- Benefits of a trust
- Asset protection and careful planning to ensure tax efficiency
- Succession planning with full control on how assets are distributed upon death
- Confidentiality and the avoidance of a public probate court hearing
Head of Middle East
Senior Consultant - Business Development