Insurance company Catlin has extended its employee share scheme to include staff in Bermuda, Germany, Canada and Singapore.
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.
After rapid global expansion in recent years, Catlin wanted to retain a sense of staff ownership and engagement achieved by extending share ownership across the whole organisation.
It used the UK sharesave model as a global template for the plan, which is run by Yorkshire Building Society. Due to the expense and time involved in expanding the scheme, it was limited to countries with 40 or more employees.
Charlotte Abbasi, head of compensation and benefits, said: “It was a model we understood and so gave simplicity. We do not want people to feel disadvantaged because they are not getting something on offer elsewhere.”
“We wanted to give people the potential upside but with no exchange rate risk. There is no risk to their savings because these are held in local currency the whole way through and then, at the end of the three years, staff choose whether they want to buy the shares at a 20% discount. Once they actually hold shares, they are open to an exchange rate risk.”
Brochures were sent out to staff in each country. The booklets were tailored using national flags and including example share calculations in local currencies. Presentations were given by the business head of each country, in person or by video conference.
Take-up has been much higher than expected, with Bermuda (73%) proving the most successful locality, followed by Germany (68%), Singapore (57%) and Canada (27%) “In the UK and US, these types of plan are quite well known, but elsewhere they differentiate us in the market,” said Abbasi. “We want employees to share in the success of our business, and to stay true to the culture and values of the organisation as we expand internationally.”
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