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Winners 2017

  • Best new share plan
    WINNER: ConvaTec

    Advisors/providers: Computershare

    ConvaTec’s entry was judged the winner in a tightly-packed category and their close attention to the ‘participant journey’ impressed the Judges. Their global Sharesave plan was launched within a very tight timescale, with succinct, crystal-clear communications including an interactive brochure, all translated into nine languages. With a diverse employee demographic across varied jurisdictions, the company was honest about the small handful of countries where low take-up was recorded, but determined to continue including all employees in their plan. They achieved 65% take-up in the UK for this first launch, and a creditable 20% take-up overall including 45 overseas jurisdictions.

  • Best international share plan

    Advisors/providers: Computershare; Willis Towers Watson

    SAP constructed a flexible, creative global share purchase plan which was rolled out to 77,000 eligible employees across 70 countries and achieved a massive 70% take-up. The plan’s use of fractional shares with the 40% match & €20 subsidy arrangement addressed affordability issues in some countries, and also sought to minimise the impact of FX on participants. Unusually, there is no holding period with the plan – but on average only 11% of participating employees sell or transfer their shares on receipt each month. In most locations this new plan, ‘Own SAP’, has attracted double the take-up of the plan that it replaced, vindicating the company’s design decisions and objectives for the plan. 
  • Most effective comm up to 5,000
    WINNER: SuperGroup plc

    Advisors/providers: Computershare

    SuperGroup plc listened to the needs and expectations of their predominantly millennial, customer-facing workforce by running a staff survey on Sharesave prior to their plan’s launch. They responded with communications that truly reflected the company’s workforce and brand and managed to more than double their Sharesave plan’s take-up. The Judges praised the company for their achievement with a hard-to-impress workforce demographic that can be difficult to engage on the topic of share plans.

  • Most effective comm 5,000 to 50,000
    JOINT WINNER: ConvaTec

    Advisors/providers: Computershare

    ConvaTec produced a suite of communications materials which engaged and supported employees and their local HR communities; before, during and after their Sharesave launch across all jurisdictions. To add to their Award for Best New Share Plan, the Judges thought that ConvaTec’s communication materials stood out from the crowd as examples of crystal clear communication produced with the needs of their audience at their heart.

  • Most effective comm 5,001-50,000JOINT WINNER: Morgan Sindall Group plc 

    Advisors/providers: YBS Share Plans 

    Morgan Sindall Group plc replaced their paper communications with a digitally-led approach, with particular emphasis on imagery of real people representing the younger demographic of their workforce. They increased their take up from 28% to 35% overall; and also achieved 29% take-up from their colleagues aged under 35 years. 

  • Most effective comm 5,000-50,001

    Advisors/providers: Stitch Communications; Computershare

    HSBC undertook a complete review of their Sharesave communications, conducting extensive internal and external research. All communications were re-written and animation, video and an interactive brochure were all introduced. The aim was to breathe new life into their Sharesave communications, appealing to both hearts and minds. The animation was viewed more than 2,000 times. The Judges liked the strapline ‘Today’s savings, tomorrow’s possibilities’ and thought that the company’s objectives were successfully achieved, with 3,500 new first-time entrants to the scheme in spite of the highest option price since 2007. Overall 26,000 or 62% of their UK employees participate in Sharesave – the worthy winner is HSBC.

  • Most effective comm 5,000-50,001

    Advisors/providers: Equiniti

    BT Group ran a comprehensive and extensive communication campaign for their Sharesave plan, demonstrating agility in handling both profitable and underwater maturities. BT Group’s ‘saveshare’ brand in BT is so strong that Sharesave news articles on BT Today online immediately become the most read articles that week.  It was clear to the Judges that the shares team encourages comments and questions from employees and works hard to answer them quickly and comprehensively.  

    The company’s employees gave very positive feedback, even though it’s been a challenging year, as reflected in the share price. The Judges’ view was that this company offers a first-rate service to its employees, recognising their achievement by highly commending this entry.
  • Best commitment to eso up to 500
    WINNER: Blue Prism Group plc

    Advisors/providers: CMS-CMNO; Investec; H2Glenfern

    Blue Prism Group plc a UK-based software company recently named as one of the ‘50 Smartest Companies’ globally by the MIT Technology Review. 

    The company was founded in 2001 and produces software powering robotic process automation. AIM listed since their IPO in 2016, the company operates EMI options, US tax-qualified incentive stock options for its US based employees, a CSOP and SIP for UK employees and a global share purchase plan for employees in Australia, Japan and India. At the time of writing they planned to launch an ESPP to their US workforce in October 2017. 

    Blue Prism Group plc makes awards under its Employee Share Plan on a monthly basis, to new employees as soon as they have completed their probation period. 
  • Best employee outcome following major corporate change
    WINNER: Paddy Power Betfair plc

    Advisors/providers: Link Asset Services

    Paddy Power Betfair plc underwent a merger and decided to take the best elements from each of the merging companies’ legacy plans and launch one plan to their combined workforce, extending it to new countries simultaneously. The Judges praised the company for embracing social media alongside more traditional communication channels, in order to reach sections of their workforce without email. They used Facebook for their ‘Workplace’ group which empowered employees to discuss Sharesave in their own terms and to access live video streams of employee briefing sessions. The company achieved 29.8% take-up globally, including 28% take-up in Australia where the plan was launched for the first time. 
  • Best employee outcome following major corporate change

    Advisors/providers: Equatex; Tapestry Compliance LLP; Bahat

    Teva had a highly complex corporate action during 2016. The company had made a $40 billion acquisition, gaining over 25,000 new employees from Actavis. 

    As part of Teva’s acquisition (representing on average 35% of the enlarged group), 2,000 employees in 70 countries had invested awards to be rolled over into new Teva grants, on to a new platform.  At the same time, a new grant had to be calculated, communicated and allocated, as part of the transition agreement. The time frame was unknown (as with most M&A completion dates) and the team had to be ready for an “any minute” deal close. The Judges wish to highly commend this entry and Teva’s team who achieved all of this activity within one week of the deal closing.

  • Most effective technology

    Advisors/providers: Equatex; KPMG

    UBS's solution tackled the tricky issue of tracking mobile employees and international assignees at award (rather than participant) level, encompassing sixty different plan types and 47 countries. UBS worked with Equatex and KPMG to build a solution which automated tax calculations and funding to local payrolls, and delivered net shares, cash proceeds and any cash residuals to participants through one streamlined process centrally driven and reconciled by a single rules engine. In doing so they eliminated complicated workarounds, manual interventions, significant reconciliation work and delayed distributions.

    The Judges agreed that this technology automation brought extreme efficiency to a very complicated global process.
  • Most effective use of technology

    Advisors/providers: Computershare; Willis Towers Watson

    SAP’s entry is highly commended, for its technology solution for administering their own plan and its integration with their HR system, and the complementary web-based application for employees to join their evergreen share purchase plan with year-round enrolment.

    The Judges were impressed that the enrolment app is available from within the company network and from outside, allowing all eligible employees easy access to enrol at any time. SAP employees only need an internet connection and a mobile device in order to join up. The enrolment process is ‘real-time’ and feeds data through to the payroll system automating the set-up of pay deductions.

    Deduction amounts, demographic, personal and static data updates feed through to SAP’s plan administrators, Computershare, via an automated data exchange solution. SAP is one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world, counting businesses of all sizes in all industries in its clientbase.  

  • Best financial education initiative
    WINNER: Aviva plc

    Advisors/providers: Barclays; Benefex

    Aviva wanted to ensure that employees made fully informed financial decisions, especially as they reached their SAYE maturity. The Judges praised the use of an interactive maturity guide and the financial tools provided to employees alongside webexes with the share plans team. 

    Aviva were clear about their responsibility for providing the right level of financial education to employees, and that this should not just be during the plan launch process - maturity is the most crucial stage for a participant in the life cycle of the SAYE, involving some important decisions. 

    The company launched the Aviva Money Works website which offered employees an online financial educational tool with a wide range of interesting articles ranging from pensions, ISAs and share plans and incorporating engaging tools and quizzes to help users think ahead. 

    The Judges were impressed with the well-thought out range of support available for employees and with the results: 21% of employees in the SAYE maturity elected to transfer their shares to a Vested Share Account, 68% elected to sell their shares; others elected to take a share certificate and 30 employees opened an ISA.

  • Best overall in fostering ESO up to 5000
    WINNER: Janus Henderson Investors plc

    Advisors/providers: Conduent HR Services; AAG; Barclays Wealth

    It was clear to the Judges that Janus Henderson are strong advocates of the benefits of employee share ownership in aligning stakeholder interests. In pursuit of that commitment, the company offers a range of opportunities to encourage employees to become shareholders. Where possible, these are delivered via tax efficient mechanisms that allow employees to benefit from tax savings within their jurisdiction. 

    In 2017 the company’s commitment to employee ownership was exemplified by the grant of an award of shares with a face value of $1,000 to every employee to celebrate the merger between both organisations and to reinforce the desire for all employees to act and think like shareholders and owners.

    The Judges felt that the company’s well-known commitment to employee share ownership and financial education deserved to be recognised, especially after their mega-merger earlier this year. 

  • Best overall in fostering ESO up to 5000

    Advisors/providers: Pinsent Masons LLP; Equiniti

    Tullow Oil is highly commended for its entry. In the run-up to their December 2016 award vesting this UK-headquartered company took their share plans experts on the road, visiting their African colleagues in South Africa, Gabon, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana. Their presentations and one-to-ones enabled more than 1,000 employees to benefit from truly life-changing financial gains as a result.

  • Best overall in fostering ESO 5,001-50,000
    WINNER: Valero Energy Ltd

    Advisors/providers: Computershare

    Valero Energy Ltd pipped Phillips 66 (the highly commended entry) to the post, with their winning UK SIP and an ethos which puts share ownership at the heart of their recruitment and onboarding process. Valero Energy Ltd introduced their Valero Energy Ltd UK SIP in 2011. This plan offers one level of benefits to all UK employees regardless of seniority.

    The plan enables UK employees to contribute up to the statutory annual maximum of £1800, which is matched by the employer up to £1500 per year. The Judges believe that the company’s plan design, their processes and their ethos of ownership undoubtedly helped them achieve an impressive 99.2% participation rate, making almost all UK employees shareholders in the company.

    Valero Energy Ltd, through its subsidiaries, is an international manufacturer and marketer of transportation fuels and other petrochemical products. 
  • Best overall in fostering ESO 5,001-50,000
    HIGHLY COMMENDED:  Phillips 66

    Advisors/providers: Computershare

    A highly commended entry, Phillips 66 impressed the Judges with their 99.33% participation rate in their global share purchase and UK SIP.  
  • Best overall in fostering ESO over 50,001
    WINNER: BT Group
    Advisors/providers: Equiniti

    BT Group has a first class pedigree of employee share ownership. Operating a full sweep of UK tax-advantaged, global all-employee and discretionary plans, backed up by a corporate nominee for vested shares, BT Group plc achieves an impressive employee share ownership rate of 66%, no mean feat for a workforce of more than 82,000 globally. 

    BT Group’s commitment to employee share ownership is evidenced by its annual Sharesave offer and a UK and international corporate sponsored nominee (holding 3.8% of BT’s equity). The company has high participation rates (56% in Sharesave) and employees currently hold options at around 2% of BT’s equity through all-employee option plans.

    Share plans are an integral part of internal quarterly results announcements from the CEO/ FD and are regularly considered at their Operating and Remuneration Committee meetings. The most recent annual employee survey (August 2017) shows that employee share plans are a key feature in retention and recruitment, 88% of UK and 83% of International respondents considered that owning shares makes them more interested in company performance.

  • Employee share plans champion of the year
    WINNER: Sheila McFadden

    Sheila McFadden, the recipient of the Employee Share Plans Champion 2017 award has devoted her career to running Lloyds Banking Group’s all-employee and executive share plans, supporting her colleagues through many corporate changes and business cycles. Lloyds Banking Group employs 75,000 UK employees and around 1,300 employees overseas in six countries. 
  • Award for services to ESO
    WINNER: David Pett

    For over 20 years, this year’s recipient of the ProShare Award for Services to Employee Share Ownership has been known as the leading authority on share schemes in the Chambers and Legal 500 directories. ProShare is delighted to recognise David Pett for his services to employee share ownership.
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