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Winners 2016

  • Indivior plc

    Indivior plc - winners

    Advised by Slaughter & May and Computershare

    Indivior impressed the Judges with their interactive brochure, calculator and Sharesave invitation letter, which included a QR code, and quoted the option price in pounds and pence for clarity of understanding by UK employees. They held a three day training event in the US, with follow-up webinars for those unable to attend. They achieved an impressive 68% take up of their first UK Sharesave launch and simultaneously 48% take up of their US Employee Share Purchase Plan.

    Indivior demerged from Reckitt Benckiser and listed on the London Stock Exchange on 23 December 2014, with a level 1 ADR program on the NY Stock Exchange. Indivior’s business is focused on treatments for diseases of addiction. The company currently has 885 employees, 165 UK plan-eligible employees and 485 eligible employees in the USA. In 2015 Indivior launched their first UK Sharesave and US Employee Stock Purchase Plan.

  • DS Smith plc

    DS Smith plc - Highly Commended
    Advised by Aon Hewitt and plan administrators Equiniti

    Always a tough category, the Judges found it hard to separate the two strongest entries in this category. They decided to highly commend the nomination from DS Smith plc, given their challenging global profile of employees on varied shift patterns across more than 300 sites, the majority with limited or no internet access.

    DS Smith has 26,000 employees globally, across 300 sites and 36 countries, speaking 24 languages. Founded in South Wales in the 1940s, DS Smith listed on the London Stock Exchange in the 1960s.

    This nomination was for their UK and global Sharesave and US stock option plan, supported by global nominee for vested shares.

  • GAM

    GAM - Winners
    Supported by Equatex

    The Judges were impressed by the flexible features in the plan, most notably the choice for employees of funding share purchases via three months of payroll contributions or via selffunding, and how the FX risk was managed, with FX rates for contributions set as close as possible to enrolment period to avoid disadvantaging participants.

    Also of note was GAM’s global due diligence process and Section 701 securities laws filing requirement in USA, with country-specific tax guides and plan factsheets produced and translated for employees, and their website giving participants their choice of language for enrolment. Mid-way through the plan roll-out, GAM acquired Cantab Capital and made every effort to ensure all their new employees had a chance to join the plan.

  • Homeserve

    Homeserve - Highly Commended
    Supported by Computershare

    HomeServe has run Sharesave in the UK since 1993, with take-up of 45%. 2016 saw the launch of their Share Incentive Plan in UK and an Employee Share Purchase Plan in Europe and the US in 2016, under the banner of ‘One Team One Plan’, and with a match of one matching share for every two Partnership shares purchased by employees. HomeServe took a multi-channel approach to their plan communications, utilising emails, letters, brochures, videos, posters, banner stands, table talkers, Yammer (an internal messaging system) and a UK roadshow. They also developed their logo into a character, ‘Homer’, to narrate the videos. All of their communications, including their videos, were translated into French, Spanish and Italian; with CEO endorsement during the enrolment period.

    The plan launch was initially scheduled for 23 June but deferred by a week due to the EU Referendum vote in UK. The company notched up 20% take up in UK and 15% take up in USA, with 10% take up globally overall – in the Judges’ view a very respectable achievement considering the timing and attendant market volatility.
  • Premier Foods

    Premier Foods - Winners
    Supported by Equiniti

    The Judges noted the company’s balanced and pragmatic approach to communicating their SAYE plan using the slogan ‘watch your savings grow’. Premier Foods listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2004 and is a constituent of the FTSE SmallCap. One of Britain’s biggest food companies, they own many well-known food brands found in 96% of UK households, including Oxo. They operate at 13 locations around the UK with 4,000 employees.

    The company awarded SIP Free shares as part of their business turnaround. The relaunch of their Sharesave involved communications via paper, online, text message, QR code, posters, intranet site and was backed up by roadshows at 11 of their 13 sites, with CEO endorsement via personalised invitation letter. Their Sharesave take-up increased by 19% on average across all sites, a significant achievement considering Sharesave options had been underwater for previous 10 years. As at the date of nomination, the share price was 65% above the 2015 Sharesave option price.
  • Informa

    Informa - Highly Commended
    Supported by Computershare

    The Judges chose to highly commend a strong entry from Informa regarding their new global share match plan, citing clear, crisp and uncluttered communication materials. After polling employees for their views on existing plans, a cross-functional team was formed and their objective was to ‘simplify and clarify’ plan communications and bring them into line with the company’s new brand, which the Judges felt was definitely ‘mission accomplished’.

    No less than 25 local ‘ShareMatch’ champions were recruited across eight jurisdictions, and the plan was also promoted by the CEO at the annual employee awards ceremony, with 2,800 employees watching the live stream globally.

    Informa has 6,500 employees globally, and their global employee share plan called ‘ShareMatch’ was launched to replace the previous UK and US plans. Under ShareMatch, one free Matching share is awarded for every two shares purchased by employees and held for three years. 20% of eligible UK employees joined the plan when it was rolled out, with 12% of colleagues in the US joining up.
  • Diageo

    Diageo - Winners
    Supported by Stitch communications and savings carrier YBS Share Plans

    Diageo’s stylish and eye-catching approach to communication of their Sharesave and Share Incentive Plan Free shares, really impressed the Judges, as did their encouragement to employees to ‘Act like an owner’. The company used a range of channels to reach all employees and a brand toolkit to ensure consistency. They used their Yammer internal messaging channel to supplement communication with employees, and ensured nobody missed out on the chance to join, with PC kiosks stationed at all non-office sites for employees without internet access. Diageo achieved a 59% participation rate in their SIP Partnership shares, 99.5% take up of their SIP Free shares, and 79% participation rate in their UK SAYE scheme overall, with 54% take up of their most recent launch.

    Diageo is a global beverage leader, with a collection of more than 200 brands sold in more than 180 countries daily. The company was formed in 1997 from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan and remains unique among large listed UK companies, in that Diageo manages its share plans and register in-house.
  • Barclays

    Barclays - Winners

    The winner in this category, Barclays, stood out with their inspiring UK Save As You Earn strapline ‘Achieve your ambitions’, featuring personalised and inspiring stories from participating members of staff, using pictures that they had taken themselves. Participants talked about why they participated in Sharesave, from saving for a deposit for their first home, taking a trip to the Great Wall of China and financing a trek to Everest base camp to raise money for charity. Communications channels used included redesigned brochures, vibrant posters featuring employee participants, banners, online tools and roadshows.

    Throughout their communications, the company clearly articulated the link between the plan’s purpose and the organisation’s purpose, with the aim of fostering a culture of saving and share ownership. They linked the share plan campaign to the celebrations of Barclays 325th anniversary to drive even greater awareness of the plan. The net result was a very healthy 45% take up at their most recent launch, up more than 15% on the previous year’s launch.

    Barclays has 325 years of history and expertise in UK banking, with 55,000 eligible UK employees.

  • River & Mercantile Group

    River & Mercantile Group - Winners
    Supported by Capita Asset Services

    Both shortlisted companies in this category demonstrated significant commitment to employee share ownership, but the winning entry from River & Mercantile Group just edged it over the competition due to their chairman’s public support for the company’s employees as ‘critical to the success of (our) client-led business’.

    River & Mercantile Group launched a Sharesave plan offering all employees who’d passed probation at the time of the invitation a three year option, the full 20% option price discount and the full statutory maximum monthly contribution limit of £500. They achieved a 60% take up, with £286 being the average monthly saving per employee. Their communications materials are another example of the popular multi-channel approach, including emails, letters, a share portal, ‘Town Hall’ meetings and video.

    River & Mercantile is a UK based advisory and investment solutions business, formed in 2014 by the merger of institutional advisor P-Solve and equity solutions provider, River & Mercantile Asset Management. The Group listed on London Stock Exchange in June 2014, and now employs 180 staff.
  • CYBG plc

    CYBG plc - Joint Winners
    Advised by Clifford chance and supported by Computershare

    Our first joint winner in this category is CYBG plc. The Judges were pleased to note that on their IPO in 2016, no less than four new plans were launched, including a Share Incentive Plan Free shares award of 2m shares in total, worth £500 to every employee, and PRA Remuneration Code-compliant discretionary plans.

    The company also offered Share Incentive Plan Partnership Shares, which were taken up by 1,500 employees equating to 24% take up, with 50% of those participating in an employee share plan for the first time. The unwinding of historical NAB awards occurred on IPO and the company was keen to manage the employee tax implications of receiving CYBG shares on demerger.

    CYBG was formed out of the Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank businesses, split out from National Australia Bank via an Australian scheme of arrangement. CYBG’s IPO took place in February 2016, valued at £360 million. The company has its primary listing in London, with a secondary Australian listing. They launched four new share plans to their 7,500 employees following a nine-month IPO planning process.

  • Aldermore Group plc
    Aldermore Group plc - Joint Winners
    Supported by Equiniti
    The second joint winner is Aldermore Group. Backed by private equity from 2009 and listed in 2015, the company’s Board decided to make a SIP Free shares award to employees shortly after listing as a way of thanking them for their contribution to the company’s growth. The Board launched a Sharesave plan shortly afterwards to ensure ongoing employee share ownership and a share in the company’s future success.

    Sharesave was deemed to be the most appropriate vehicle given its simplicity, ease of understanding, finite award period and risk-free nature. Take up of 43% and average monthly contributions of £151 per employee were achieved for the very first launch.

    Aldermore Group was founded in 2009 as a specialist lender and savings bank offering straightforward products to SMEs, homeowners, landlords and individuals, and listed in March 2015. The company had a £651 million market capitalisation on listing, with 2% of issued share capital owned by senior management team at that time. The company offers modern, legacy-free, scaleable services with a digital-first customer proposition, and their share plan communications routes encompassed online, paper and text message.
  • DS Smith plc

    DS Smith plc - Joint Winners
    Advised by Aon Hewitt and Equiniti

    DS Smith has 26,000 employees globally, across 300 sites and 36 countries, with 24 languages spoken by their workforce. The company was founded in South Wales in the 1940s and listed on the London Stock Exchange in the 1960s. Their global plans are supported by a global nominee for vested shares.

    The Judges loved the eye-catching and highly-appropriate ‘blooming’ sunflower image used as their AR ‘trigger’ on posters, with GPS data used to determine the locality and correct language to be used for employees when accessed via a free to download app.
  • Rio Tinto
    Rio Tinto - Joint Winners
    Advised by Deloitte and Computershare
    Rio Tinto employs 55,000 people globally, across 34 countries, with a significant mobile population. Rio Tinto was first incorporated as a business in 1873, and has been trading for 140+ years. Their global share purchase plan operates across 34 countries, replacing their old Sharesave-style plan. The global plan currently has 15,500 participants out of an eligible population of 43,500, and features a 1:1 Matching share ratio, low minimum contribution (local currency equivalent of £5 monthly) and uses fractional share purchases. Participants have the opportunity to top-up their contributions after unpaid leave, and local tax advantaged plans are used wherever feasible.

    The payroll reporting generated by the system incorporates actual and hypothetical tax withholding calculations. All plan trades and calculations are performed automatically with no employee input, executed simultaneously to ensure fairness to all employees. The Judges were impressed by the commitment to accuracy and automation exhibited by the development and application of this technology.
  • Henderson Global Investors

    Henderson Global Investors - Winners
    Advised by AAG

    The winner, Henderson Global Investors, has a 12 year track record in employee share ownership and financial education and operates a comprehensive financial education programme throughout the calendar year, which encompasses a broad range of topics in both the UK and USA. Their view is that employees should have the power of knowledge when it comes to understanding their overall benefits package and managing their personal finances, something that the judging panel agreed with wholeheartedly.

    Henderson Global Investors was established in 1934. The company has been listed in London since December 2003 and on the Australian Securities Exchange, featured on the FTSE250 and ASX100 indices.

     A leading independent global asset management firm, Henderson’s truly impressive share plan take-up demonstrates their considerable success in helping employees to understand the value of their share plan offering. 93% of their UK workforce participates in their UK SIP Partnership shares, 67% of their non-UK employees participate in the non-UK version of the plan. The UK Sharesave launch garnered 40% take up, and there is 78% participation in the UK across all Sharesave grants. The US Sharesave scheme has a 65% take up rate.
  • Skyscanner

    Skyscanner - Winners
    Supported by YBS Share Plans

    The winner in this category has made significant strides in embedding employee share ownership in their relatively young company, and definitely punches above their weight with a very small in-house team, drawn from different disciplines across the company.

    Skyscanner is a global organisation, employing a workforce largely drawn from the Millennial Generation, given their business focus on digital technology and travel. Employee share ownership has unequivocal and consistent support from the company’s CEO & founder, and their CFO.

    Skyscanner is an unlisted travel metasearch company, with 700 employees, supporting 50m unique visits to their website every month. Their share plans are operated in seven countries, with nine offices between them. The global take up of their employee share purchase plan is 87%, with 69% contributing at the UK £1,800 statutory annual maximum.

    The company offers the maximum Matching share ratio, two Matching shares for every Partnership share purchased, and also offers an ‘investment boost’ shares element, taking the maximum possible contribution to £2,500 annually.

  • BT Group

    BT Group - Highly Commended
    Supported by Equiniti

    This year BT Group is highly commended, with 60% of the workforce owning shares in their employer. A fantastic achievement driven by many years of focused, dedicated hard work and the determination to offer all-employee plans on a global basis. 89% of respondents in their annual global employee survey stated that owning shares in their employer made them more interested in 
    the company’s performance.

    BT has 900,000 shareholders, 81,400 full time equivalent employees in the UK, and 21,100 employees outside the UK in 61 countries. The company’s UK sharesave plan has a 59% take-up rate, and just 16% of shares are typically sold on maturity. BT’s international Sharesave operates in 26 countries with 45% participation. Their UK SIP partnership scheme enjoys a 36% participation rate.

    Ahead of very profitable maturities in recent years, a unique CGT modeller was devised to assist UK employees with personal tax return compliance and their own decision-making. The company also operates a popular US Employee stock purchase plan with 32.5% participation, and a suite of executive plans with a performance-based incentive share plan, non-performance based retention share plan and deferred bonus plan.

  • Diageo (5,001)

    Diageo - Winners
    Advised by Stitch communications and supported by savings carrier YBS Share Plans

    ‘Act like an owner’ was the key recurring message in Diageo’s winning entry and their share plan communications, and the judges felt that this neatly encapsulated the purpose of employee share ownership. The Judges noted the company’s offering included evergreen SIP Partnership shares and Matching shares, alongside annual SIP Free share awards and Sharesave launches, with minimal eligibility criteria in order to facilitate participation from the earliest opportunity in an employee’s career. It also

    included an employee share ownership education programme demonstrating a holistic approach to share ownership from an employee’s first share plan enrolment to the point at which they become a shareholder.

    Diageo is a global beverage leader, with a collection of more than 200 brands sold in more than 180 countries daily. The company was formed in 1997 from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan. It is unique among large listed UK companies in that Diageo manages its share plans and register in-house.

    99.5% of Diageo employees hold SIP Free shares – up 20% in the past two years – and 79% of UK employees participate in UK sharesave, with 50% saving the statutory maximum of £500 per month. 59% of employees are currently participating in UK SIP Partnership shares, with 61% contributing the maximum of £125 per month. 84% of employees typically retain their shares at SAYE Maturity.

    A nominee service is offered to all employee shareholders, accessed and managed entirely online with no administration charges, to facilitate easy share holding and transactions. The company administers the payment of a combined dividend twice a year calculated on the complete balance of eligible shares held across all plans, with a dividend reinvestment option.

  • Francis O'Mahony

    Francis O'Mahony

    This year’s Employee Share Plans Champion is Francis O’Mahony, Head of Employee Share Plans & Share Registration at BT Group.

    Francis’ commitment, interest and engagement in employee share plans goes way beyond the expectation of his role at BT. He is passionate about his contribution to the industry and is subsequently well-known amongst his contemporaries purely because of the time he has given to sharing his knowledge and his perspective through participating in many varied industry forums and events.

    Francis is a highly effective chair of ProShare’s largest focus group for Tax-Advantaged Plans, committed to using his time and influence for the benefit for all. Working closely with HMRC, ProShare and Equiniti, Francis plays a key role in providing feedback to HMRC to encourage them to improve their ERS Online service. He has also personally helped out other companies by, quite openly, sharing experiences and examples of communications and media used for their own share maturities; Royal Mail’s Free share maturity is one high-profile example.

    In addition to this external influence, Francis has been central to raising the profile of employee share plans and share ownership within BT. Francis is keen that everyone understands how the employee share plans work and is always willing to speak to employees individually. He frequently takes personal responsibility for resolving individual queries to a satisfactory conclusion.

    Francis is an industry-leading professional showing great commitment to his contemporaries and colleagues alike. He is passionate about the big projects but still gives time and effort to the small things that mean a great deal to the individuals with whom he communicates; they are always very appreciative of the lengths that he will go to in dealing with their queries. He is passionate about share plans and is certainly a champion in the eyes of BT.

    Francis not only contributes to but is also a key creator of the positive share plans employee engagement for which BT are renowned. With more than 900,000 shareholders and 60% of BT’s employees owning shares in their employer, this is a powerful testament to Francis’ commitment to the share plans industry and to BT.
  • Graeme Nuttall OBE

    Graeme Nuttall OBE

    The recipient of this year’s Award for Services to Employee Share Ownership is Graeme Nuttall OBE.

    Graeme is a partner in Fieldfisher’s Tax & Structuring Practice and their firm-wide Employee and Mutual Ownership team. He is dual-qualified as an English solicitor and a chartered tax adviser.

    Graeme’s work as a member of the HM Treasury Employee Ownership Advisory Group was instrumental in developing the Share Incentive Plan and Enterprise Management Incentive arrangement. Many of the companies receiving awards tonight have Graeme’s input to thank, in shaping the plans that they are able to offer to their employees. As at the publication of the last available HMRC statistics, 500 UK companies operated SIPs and 2,950 companies operated EMI schemes for their employees. His independent review of employee ownership, commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in 2012, made recommendations to government on how to promote employee owned companies and a number of tax incentives were subsequently implemented benefiting employee-owned businesses.
    He was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2014 for services to employee share plans and public service mutuals, as well as employee ownership.

    In addition to his work on SIPs and EMI schemes, Graeme is a driving force behind the UK’s fastest growing sector, that of employee-owned businesses. His commitment and support to those contemplating a move to full or majority employee-owned status is second to none. With Graeme’s encouragement, FieldFisher and the eaga Trust recently sponsored a research project undertaken by the University of Oxford & Principled Consulting, on the Millennial Generation’s attitudes to work and their views of employee ownership.

    Graeme is a key contributor to ProShare’s SMEs focus group and his clear, considered and expert advice is much sought after by Government and industry alike.

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