Dotdigital | SIP & CSOP

Successful digital marketing & communications AIM listed company required an on-line solution


Employee share plan delivery and support for AIM listed company

Our client Dotdigital is a digital marketing and communications business listed on AIM with over 350 employees located in multiple jurisdictions.

Rapid expansion meant that the company had outgrown their EMI plan and an alternative was required for key employees.  In particular, the directors also recognized the importance of delivering a reward solution for all staff that was designed to focus their creative and youthful team on the medium to long term performance of the business, rather than short term rewards.  It was important that any plan delivered reflected the “family feel” of the company.

With many participants falling into the category of “digital natives”, online access to plan information was a must – paper-based solutions were simply not an option.

RM2 worked closely with the CHRO and his global HR team to deliver the following:

  • A Share Incentive Plan (SIP) for all UK based employees of the company and its subsidiaries that offered Partnership Shares, enabling employees to purchase shares in the company each month out of pre-tax salary.
  • A Company Share Option Plan (CSOP) for over 220 eligible UK based employees.
  • Additional non-tax advantaged options for employees in certain overseas jurisdictions, and to provide “top up” awards for those participants who exceed the legislative CSOP limits.

In addition to producing the documentation for the plans, RM2 also carried out the following:

  • Delivery of face-to-face presentations for the SIP participants in the company’s UK offices. RM2 a third party, perceived as independent from the establishing company, provided an explanation for employees, which assisted with take-up for the plan – particularly where employees are investing their own funds in a share plan.
  • Design and build of an online portal for participants. The portal enables individuals to view awards made, enter into savings arrangements for the SIP, and to sell SIP shares once the shares have been held for a certain period.  CSOP and USOP options may also be exercised by way of the portal once vesting conditions have been met.
  • Acting as trustee of the SIP
  • Administering all three of the plans, including managing all leavers and ensuring end of year share plan returns are delivered in a timely manner.

As the company’s growth journey continues, RM2 provides additional ongoing advice in relation to proposed new plans, including phantom share options and LTIPs for senior directors.

[David Aldrich] CHRO commented: “RM2 has worked with us to deliver and operate our various share plans for a number of years.  We’ve always found them responsive, helpful and engaging – we’d strongly recommend them to any company looking to put in place an employees’ share scheme, particularly in respect of managing the ongoing administration aspects, which can be very burdensome for an HR team without this specialist expertise.”

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