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Capdesk and Fidelity enable the continuous transition of share plans from private to public markets in Europe

By Joy Dumasia

March 21, 2022

  • Asset Management
  • Capdesk
  • Digital assets

Capdesk, a leading equity management platform, announced an alliance with Fidelity, one of the world’s foremost investment management services. It means that, in an industry-first, growing European companies will be able to efficiently transition their employee share plans from private to public markets. 

Analysis of over 360 companies that registered equity awards with Capdesk, including 17 of Europe’s 70 new unicorns, shows that between 2011 and 2021, company equity awards grew by 500%. In 2011, each company granted an average of 15 awards, soaring to an average of 98 in 2021, 85% of which were issued as options.  

In line with this growing trend of pre-IPO employee equity, Capdesk and Fidelity have built Europe’s first fully integrated ‘seed to post-IPO’ equity solution for equity plans, a traditionally underserved space in the region. 

Through this alliance, fast-growing companies can move their share plans effortlessly from Capdesk’s equity management platform to Fidelity’s public market services, ensuring employee ownership remains a powerful tool as they transition.  

The alliance will significantly simplify the IPO process for businesses, considerably reducing the dedicated time required by pre-IPO companies’ finance teams and providing them access to Fidelity’s advisors before listing. This guidance will help companies structure employee wealth management in tax-efficient ways and optimise employee pay-outs, easing the transition from a privately owned business to a listed entity. As well as equity plan management, Fidelity also provides companies with wider workplace solutions, including pensions, healthcare and financial wellness.  

Capdesk, which enables privately-owned companies to manage their equity digitally via a single platform, has served 500+ customers in the private market in Europe over the last six years. The alliance with Fidelity enhances Capdesk’s ability to serve clients at every stage of growth, from seed startups through to companies on the brink of listing. 

Christian Gabriel, CEO and Co-Founder at Capdesk, said: “As private capital surges and European companies wait ever-longer to IPO, the importance of private markets continues to rise. Capdesk and Fidelity’s alliance bridges the gap. Now both private and listed companies can access a state-of-the-art equity solution throughout their growth journey. Employee financial wellbeing is at the heart of Capdesk’s mission, and this alliance ensures that as our customers transition to the public marketplace, the support their employees receive will only be enhanced by Fidelity.” 

Mitan Patel, European Regional Lead at Fidelity Stock Plan Services, said: “We recognise the growing importance of private markets, and by partnering with Capdesk, we can bring our investment management expertise to pre-IPO companies. Together, we will support customers with access to a full service as they progress to the next step of their journey from private to listed companies in the public marketplace. With this alliance, we will provide intuitive, multilingual tools and resources to employee shareholders in their equity plan lifecycle, from access to company shares to ongoing wealth management solutions.”

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