Member Focus - Global Shares
1. Could you give us an overview of your company?
Global Shares is a fintech firm based in Clonakilty in Cork, Ireland, with offices in Tokyo, Miyazaki and 15 other locations around the globe. We specialise in supporting companies to implement equity compensation programmes, helping them to create employee shareholders through the provision of our software, administration support and share-dealing services.
We deal with companies with a handful of employees right the way through to some of the biggest and most exciting private and publicly listed companies in the world. Global Shares is a regulated firm and exports to 100+ countries worldwide.
In 2021 we had the great honour to be crowned Technology Ireland’s ‘Technology Company of the Year’.
2. How did your company first become involved in the IJCC?
Global Shares’ journey from Clonakilty to Japan has been a remarkable one. We began supporting Japanese clients in 2016 and have now developed a unique solution for global Japanese companies to overcome complex technical equity trading barriers, as well as help them easily extend the international reach of their employee share plans. We’ve embraced this opportunity fully over the past number of years and today Japan is one of our fastest-growing markets.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the encouragement and support of organisations in Japan like the JICC and Enterprise Ireland from the very outset.
In recognition of our successful collaboration, Global Shares was awarded the JICC ‘Company of the Year’ at the 2020 Japan Ireland Business Awards. It was a very proud day for our company, and a special moment personally for our CEO Japan, John Meehan, having held close connections with the Japanese market since early in his career when he spent three years living in Miyazaki, Kyushu.
3. What is your connection to Ireland?
Global Shares is an Irish company, headquartered in the beautiful town of Clonakilty on the scenic Southwest coast of Ireland. In 2005 we started up as an equity services company in the town’s Technology Park however within a few years, we realised the business model wasn’t working and we had to pivot to survive.
We recognised there was a gap in the market for a truly global software platform and built it from scratch. Fast forward to 2015 and Global Shares was re-launched as a fintech company, with a mission to become the global provider of choice in the employee ownership space. Since then, stellar growth has followed.
We are extremely proud of our Irish heritage, and we are equally proud of our multi-cultural, global team of 40+ nationalities dispersed around the world. Our people are our most valuable asset and the combination of our Irish and multi-cultural heritage is something everyone really enjoys about working at Global Shares.
4. What do you like about Japan?
From a business perspective, we like the respectful nature in which business is conducted, and that once trust has been earned, both clients and partners are tremendously loyal. We also like the fact that we have an incredibly dedicated and highly skilled team who are also fun to work with.
Of course, for our international team members visiting Japan, they love the hospitality, food and karaoke!
5. How has COVID-19 pandemic changed your business in a year?
As with all periods of adversity, there are opportunities, and for Global Shares, as a tech firm we continued to thrive. We have enjoyed record growth over the past two years despite the significant challenges that Covid presented. In fact our workforce has nearly doubled during this time. Trends that helped drive this growth included governments increasing support for equity incentives in many countries; more companies extending equity compensation deeper into the organisation and in many cases offering all-employee share plans. As economies bounce back, we are also seeing an increased focus on talent recruitment and retention. The increased focus on staff retention is causing more companies to offer shares to employees as a way of retaining staff.
6. Could you tell us about your connection with Miyazaki Prefecture?
Our CEO of Global Shares Japan, John Meehan, had previously lived and worked in Miyazaki and knew the prefecture well. When we decided that we wanted to set up a service centre we looked for locations that would be lower cost than the main city centres, be well connected and also offer a good lifestyle option for our colleagues. Miyazaki has low costs of employment and office space, it has an international airport and is located in a beautiful part of Japan. John likened it to ‘the Clonakilty of Japan!’ It also helped that there is an International College in Miyazaki, providing good access to English speaking candidates and finally, the people of Miyazaki have a reputation for excellent customer service due to their friendly nature. We’ve built an exceptional team there who have played a key role in our success in Japan.
7. What areas of growth do you see for your company (or sector) in the next 12 to 24 months?
All areas of our business are growing strongly. We expect the market for equity incentive solutions to continue to grow as more companies look to harness the power of employee share ownership to motivate, retain and incentivise staff.
A combination of increased complexity in delivering equity incentives to employees, and the need for employees to be able to have instant access to their shares online, is driving the need for solutions like ours
We’re accelerating geographical expansion with new offices in Leeds and Porto, and expanded offices in a number of locations. We are expecting particularly strong growth in Japan and will be expanding our offices in both Miyazaki and Tokyo. Globally we expect our staff numbers to increase to c.750 from the current headcount of 550 over the course of 2022.
There has never been a more exciting time to work with Global Shares. We are enjoying huge global success and expanding across all departments. Career advancement opportunities are many, with the potential for professional growth ever-present due to our growth phase.