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  • Conference on "Rewarding and Retaining Talents in Armenia’s High-Tech sector" organized by BDO Armenia. Read More

Conference on "Rewarding and Retaining Talents in Armenia’s High-Tech sector" organized by BDO Armenia.

07 February 2022

Retaining and rewarding talents in the team is one of the challenges faced by leading High-Tech companies in parallel to their continuous growth. Due to the recent legislative changes in the Republic of Armenia, the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) has become a viable solution for both the founders and the teams in terms of matching interests and maintaining high motivation in companies.

To study the topic in detail, BDO in Armenia, together with BDO offices in the United States and Israel, held a conference on December 8 with the participation of the public and private sectors. The conference was aimed at identifying the challenges and opportunities of this highly sensitive topic with global experts, policy makers, public sector representatives, as well as representatives of the executive staff of high-tech companies. It is noteworthy that during the conference the views of both the public sector, including the RA Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan, the RA Deputy Minister of Finance Arman Poghosyan, the Secretary General of the RA Ministry of High-Tech Industry Narek Melkumyan and the private sector were voiced.

The following structure was chosen: a presentation of US experience, a follow-up panel discussion with public sector leaders on the use of ESOP in Armenia, and then a presentation of Israel's best practice as a country with a leading startup ecosystem. Afterwards, panel discussion about problems Armenian high-tech companies face nowadays in retention of talents and about the post-ESOP expected benefits. The latest legislative changes in the Republic of Armenia on the application of ESOP were also presented.

One of the keynote speakers at the conference were BDO USA Partner Jason Brooks (Global Employer Services Compensation Consulting) and Joe Pankamo (Global Equity Market Leader), who presented the role of ESOP for enabling talent reward and retention from the global perspective with an emphasis on the USA ecosystem. As Mottie Datelkramer from BDO Israel (Partner, Corporate Finance) spoke about the global perspective and components of the effective ESOP design. The RA legislative regulations and changes in the ESOP were introduced by Naira Petrosyan, Head of Legal Services of BDO Armenia and Varoujan Avedikian, Managing Partner of TK & Partners.

The keynote presentations were followed up by panel discussions, moderated by Vache Gabrielyan (Dean of the Simon Manukyan College of Business and Economics, AUA), Tigran Karapetyan (Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Corporate Governance Center), Aleksandr Shaghikyan (Partner,Head of Advisory, BDO Armenia).

The first panel discussion was focused on the role of the public sector, both in government and in supporting the provision and preservation of talent in the country.

In his speech, the Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia Vahan Kerobyan emphasized the role of the ESOP in the development process of the high-tech sector and noted ․ "It has to become a standard, otherwise, companies are becoming very vulnerable to talent outflows."

During the second panel discussion, the challenges faced by Armenian High-Tech entrepreneurs in terms of rewarding and retaining talent were raised and the following question was discussed “can ESOP be considered a potential solution?”.

The conference was summarized with a panel discussion on post-exit ESOP benefits.

The managing partner of BDO Armenia Vahagn Sahakyan stated ․ "During the conference, the importance of the employee sstock ownership plan in the development and progress of companies was really revealed. It is important that during the project implementation phase, companies take into account the effective ESOP design components discussed during the event. According to the already received feedbacks, the conference helped the participants to clarify what to do next regarding the implementation of the employee rewarding and stock ownership plan. I think in this case, we can call the event successful.