Report: Diverse, responsible and competent domestic ownership needed to strengthen investments, growth and wellbeing
The domestic ownership programme presents a vision of a Finnish ownership society in 2030 where ownership is widely appreciated and ownership is considered as a common good. The culture of responsible ownership and accepting the growth in prosperity are part of the Finnish identity. The attitude to ownership is open and encouraging.
The working group led by Member of Parliament Juha Sipilä submitted its report to Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä on 24 March 2021. The task of the working group was to identify means to strengthen, diversify and promote equality in the Finnish ownership of companies.
Working group proposes almost 70 measures to be implement in the short or longer term
Some of the proposed measures are related to the current challenges faced by companies and households. The majority of the proposals, however, aim to make the Finnish society and people considerably stronger than at present to meet the challenges of the future.
“Finland’s economic growth and success are in our own hands. Through competent domestic ownership we can promote productivity and investments. In the end, what ownership is all about is ways to finance the welfare society, that is, the citizens wellbeing and future,” Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä says.
“Economic growth is an absolute necessity to ensure the services of our welfare society. This, in turn, requires a strong ownership society where we should have even larger numbers of competent owners. To strengthen the equity capital that serves as the stabilising keel and facilitator of growth for business, we must have committed ownership and remove the bottlenecks in financing. Fortunately, economic and productivity growth and, through these, the wellbeing of us Finns are in our own hands,” says Juha Sipilä, Member of Parliament and chair of the working group.
Several proposals concerning the business environment and financing of companies
Finnish economy is based on a strong group of SMEs owned by private entrepreneurs and families that invest in Finland and perform well in the export market. The key idea in the proposals is to make sure that adequate and proportionate incentives and financing instruments are offered to companies in all stages of their development. Broad-based and professional competence in ownership is needed in all stages of the companies’ lifecycle.
The proposals will promote and strengthen the investment opportunities for business angels, business environment for entrepreneurs, and financing options for companies. There are several proposals concerned with smoother transfers of ownership, including an impact investment project to promote the transfers.
The working group also wishes to develop models for employee ownership of companies, including making it easier to set up employees' mutual funds. Options should be taken into account in attracting international experts.
Stronger economic competence and positive attitude to ownership
The working group considers that the Finnish society should also invest in a positive attitude and competence in ownership at all levels of education, starting from primary and secondary education. The curricula should be reviewed and updated to provide adequate content related to economic competence, and scientific research should be increased.
The aim of the programme is that people would regard saving, investing and ownership as natural elements of their own lives. The working group proposes that the equity savings account would be further developed e.g. by raising the maximum amount of funds to be invested in the account to EUR 100,000. People are also encouraged to save for retirement on a voluntary basis by owning shares.
Report is based on several consultations
The working group heard more than a hundred experts and held six regional consultations on the theme “towards responsible domestic ownership”. A total of 24 organisations sent their comments in writing, and several online surveys were organised to get the views of companies, other stakeholders and private citizens.
Together with the report of the working group, three background reports were also published: Subsidiary economy and foreign corporate acquisitions in Finland: a threat or opportunity? (Tero Luoma), Description of the business environment of domestic ownership (background report of the working group’s secretariat) and “Business environment of ownership and policy measures in reference countries”. (4Front Oy).
A collection of articles was published earlier in the Business Review (Yrityskatsaus) under the theme “Responsible and competent domestic ownership”. These four reports and the theme issue of the Business Review constitute a comprehensive package to learn about the environment of domestic ownership in Finland.