SOTRUST commits itself to the autonomy of corporations: Because autonomy is the prerequisite for every individual entrepreneurial development and a central aspect of a society constituted on individual freedom and the principles of market economy. We believe the challenge of protecting and developing these constituents can be found in the successful advancement of autonomous corporations. Independent of inheritance, succession and financial funds, we believe it should be possible for the most capable members of a society to take on responsibility as a shareholder. This is exactly what the concept of trusteed ownership renders possible. Furthermore it facilitates the following strategic advantages which contribute to the sustainment of autonomy:
- Continuity of corporate responsibility
- High strategic flexibility
- Avoiding expensive succession and settlement plans within the family
- Optimal shareholder structure for particular company
- Avoiding withdrawals from company assets that are inadequate to risk and performance
- Avoiding credit leveraged buyouts and consequential long term capital lock-up at affected companies
- Avoiding short- and medium-term financial speculation
Besides strategic advantages, constituting a company as a trusteed corporation is associated with specific challenges. These can be of conceptual, communicative, psychological, organizational and legal nature. The society of trusteed corporations as a long term initiative from companies for companies dedicates itself to tackling these challenges. SOTRUST is the first ever forum for trusteed entrepreneurship.
Beyond being of interest to the participating companies in this forum the concept of trusteed corporations adds to the enrichment of the corporate landscape by offering an alternative to family-owned and capital market-oriented enterprises. There are more than 200 companies constituted as trusteed corporations in Germany, most of which are companies owned by foundations. These include known firms like Carl Zeiss AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, Schott AG, Mahle GmbH and dm-drogerie markt GmbH. Creating a foundation presupposes sufficient financial leeway. Therefore the possibility of constituting a trusteed company without a foundation as a legal entity becomes relevant for small and medium-sized companies. Overall the concept of trusteed entrepreneurship offers prospects that are of importance to free enterprises and a free society.