News update – Standard Life launches Sip for UK-based staff

Standard Life will launch a share incentive plan (Sip) for its 7,000 UK-based employees after the company floats at the beginning of this month on 10 July. Employees are to receive a free share windfall worth up to £420 each, along with the chance to buy discounted shares.

If they stay in the scheme for 12 months they will also be eligible for free bonus shares, paid out on the basis of one free share for every 20 shares employees hold. The offer will only be available during the scheme’s first year. Standard Life, which posted a pre-tax profit of £152m last year, will offer shares to the external market between 210p and 270p, the price of which will be set when the company floats.

Employees, however, will be able to purchase discounted shares between 119.5p and 256.5p before the 5 July deadline. The company is then due to float on 10 July.

A spokesman for Standard Life said: "Real reaction to the scheme will be measured in demand, but we think it is something that will be well received. I think [the free shares] will encourage many employees to think about joining." Employees must have accrued six months’ continuous service prior to the float in order to be eligible for the scheme.