Case study: Catlin’s extended employee share scheme

Insurance company Catlin extended its employee share scheme in September last year to include staff in Bermuda, Germany, Canada and Singapore using its UK sharesave model as a global template.

The firm, which employs 1,300 staff globally, previously offered a sharesave (save-as-you-earn) scheme to 699 UK staff and a stock purchase plan to 273 US staff.

Charlotte Abbasi, head of compensation and benefits at Catlin, says the company’s main focus was to ensure there was no risk to employees’ savings. “We did not want to run a phantom plan because we wanted staff to actually have the chance to buy shares, but we chose the [sharesave] design so people could participate without suffering an exchange risk on their savings.

“We take employees’ savings on a monthly basis, hold it in local currency, and if the plan proves unattractive in three years due to exchange rates or share price, they are able to take their money out. If the share price has gone up, they are then, at that point, able to transfer their money and buy the shares.”

Because of the time and cost involved in expanding the scheme, it was limited to countries with 40 or more employees. Take-up was much higher than expected, with Bermuda (73%) proving the most successful location, followed by Germany (68%), Singapore (57%) and Canada (27%).