Criticism of steward-ownership

Dhe years of efforts by the start-up scene to create a new legal form have suffered a severe setback. The legal initiative of the Berlin Foundation for steward-ownership for a new GmbH with tied assets, GmbH-gebV for short, is supported by the Scientific Advisory Board at Federal Ministry of Finance viewed very critically. According to a statement published by the advisory board on Thursday, he cannot recommend the introduction of such a legal form.

“The proposed variant of the legal form would trigger serious governance problems and result in legal and politically problematic cross-generational restrictions on freedom,” complain the almost three dozen scientists, including well-known economists such as Marcel Thum, Jörg Rocholl, Clemens Fuest, Johanna Hey and Volker Wieland in their 16-page paper. They repeated the concerns expressed in the specialist literature that the new company variant could be misused as a tax-saving model. Economist Lars Feld, who is a member of the panel, issued a dissenting opinion, stressing that potential concerns could be addressed.

Anachronistic company law

The study focuses on an initiative by the steward-ownership foundation led by the entrepreneur Armin Steuernagel, who has been promoting his proposal in a very creative way for more than two years – at that time still under the term “steward-ownership”. To this end, Steuernagel has supporters appear in costumes from the imperial era in order to illustrate how anachronistic German corporate law is.

The attention of the Federal Minister of Justice and self-confessed science fiction fans Marco Buschmann (FDP) got Steuernagel with the help of a “Star Wars” costume that he wore at the last German Lawyers’ Day. So far, however, success has been limited: the lead Federal Ministry of Justice is currently working on a corresponding draft law, but there are still concerns about European law, a spokeswoman said on request.

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