It’s been revealed that Countrywide has offered its staff a ‘share save’ scheme which allows them to purchase shares in the firm at a 20 per cent discount after three years - or, if they don’t want shares, to get their saved money back.
There has been much interest in Countrywide’s share price in recent years; back in March 2014 it was at an all-time high of 686.50p but during the controversial Alison Platt era the price tumbled - and tumbled again. At the end of last week it closed around 93.10p - one seventh of the value four and a quarter years ago, but up from some of the lowest depths seen in February this year.
The Employee Benefits trade magazine says the new scheme, recently implemented at Countrywide, replaces the firm’s previous share incentive plan, which had been relatively poorly supported by staff.
The new scheme is open to Countrywide employees on permanent contracts who have been working for over six months - there are reportedly some 8,300 eligible employees who can take up the scheme, out of a total workforce of 11,000 staff.
The publication quotes Neil Goodwin, human resources reward director at Countrywide, saying: “With a [sharesave scheme], whatever happens to the share price, [employees] can still take the money back that [they have] paid in at the end of the three years whereas with a share incentive plan, if the share price goes down, [it could potentially affect employees’ investment], so that was the main driver behind the changing plans, because employees said that they want more security for their savings.”
More than 1,519 employees are reported to have taken up the sharesave scheme in its initial three-week launch window. The next opportunity to join the plan will be next year.