Founder's wishes

Staff take ownership of Alan Steel Asset Management

Alan Steel: died last year

Alan Steel Asset Management has become employee owned in accordance with the wishes of its late founder.

The deal was completed at the end of January with the majority of the shares now held in a trust which will own 70% of the business on behalf of the 42 employees.

Steve Forbes, managing director, director Steven Wilson, and Mr Steel’s widow and finance director Frances, will continue to run the company.

Mr Steel and the board rebuffed a number of approaches over the years for the Linlithgow-based wealth management business and decided a few months before his death to opt for employee ownership.

This followed discussions with Mr Steel’s long term adviser, Iain Binnie of Geoghegans Chartered Accountants who introduced the practice to Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates.

It had been planned to complete the deal last October but Mr Steel, who launched the business 47 years ago, died in Forth Valley Hospital in September after a month-long battle with Covid-19.

In a letter to clients, who include the former Scotland international footballer Gordon Strachan and the golfer Stephen Gallacher, Mr Forbes said every approach for the business had been disregarded “as we quickly recognised that whoever acquired us would alter the company’s DNA.

“As a result, led by Alan, the board decided early last year that the best way to protect the future of the company and everyone concerned was to make ASAM an employee owned company.”

He added: “We do, of course, reflect on the sad fact that Alan is not around to see his wishes completed, but take comfort in the knowledge that in his last few weeks it was a comfort to him to know that not only would his legacy remain intact, but the ability to help the local community, always a key part of the business, would continue for many more years to come.”

Mrs Steel added: “ASAM is a close knit group and we have a number of families working within the company, and so adopting employee ownership felt like a logical step for the business, and Alan recognised this from the beginning.

“Employee ownership will provide stability for all associated with ASAM. Alan worked on five principles when he started the company: Knowledge, integrity, innovation, fairness and fun. These were fundamental to the way he operated and the legacy he was determined to leave at ASAM, and this succession model is the best way to secure these principles and his legacy.”

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