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The work, study and family balance: Exams pushed back as reality of Brexit and work sets in

09 August, 2016Gabbi Stopp

Gabbi Stopp is the Head of Employee Share Ownership at ProShare, and is currently studying for a Diploma for Financial Advisors (DipFA®). Gabbi is also a wife, and mother to a three-year-old boy.

In this blog series, Gabbi takes an honest look at what it's like to study, while working and managing family commitments.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

It’s been a while since my last blog entry – to say that a lot has happened during that time would be an understatement. A very busy time at work for me with multiple member events to deliver, plus the additional unwelcome excitement of the EU Referendum outcome, have collectively conspired to keep me well away from both my blog and my DipFA studies. After testing myself on the FSRE questions from previous years, I reluctantly decided to re-book my exam for a later date. It feels rather like a stay of execution, but it is at least a chance to fully prepare in order to give myself the best chance of passing. I feel lucky that I am able to rebook the FSRE exam – obviously it was never an option with GCSEs and A-Levels, though I hardly had any distractions from my studies then…

Brexit seems to have caught many of us under-prepared, and foretelling the outcome of the negotiations – whenever they do begin – is an impossibility. Markets certainly do not like the uncertainty and after a short-lived recovery from an initial two bloody days of trading, as I write this the FTSE index is once more jittery and unsettled. It is a difficult time to be running share plans, particularly for companies with vesting and maturity dates happening round about now or indeed in coming months. The longer-term situation does not look positive either – as an example, UK listed companies benefit from the EU Prospectus Directive, which currently enables them to offer share plans to their employees across the EU without having to write lengthy and expensive prospectuses. Leaving the EU and becoming a ‘third country’ will mean that this benefit is swept away and my concern is that many companies will not be willing to go through the pain and expense of issuing a prospectus in order to offer any but their most senior EU-based employees the chance of participating in a share plan.

While for now the UK technically remains a member of the EU (at the time of writing, Article 50 has not yet been triggered), we are still legally obliged to implement the EU Market Abuse Regulation, and the EU General Data Protection Regulation, amongst others. I name these because they have a significant impact on the share plans industry – obviously its not the only area of impact but its the one I have a ringside seat on. Time, effort, resource and money are being expended by plan issuer companies, advisors and plan administrators on compliance with these regulations, in the knowledge that we will have to unpick much of this work at a later date once the timing and terms of the UK’s exit from the EU are known.

Read Gabbi's past posts or find out more about DipFA