EXCLUSIVE: Marks & Spencer offers financial education for sharesave maturity

Marks and Spencer (M&S) will offer financial education ahead of two of its sharesave schemes maturing on 1 January 2012, with markedly different results.

Its three-year sharesave scheme will see 12,000 staff share a pot of £60 million. Ann Govier, manager of senior remuneration and employee share schemes at M&S, said: “It is quite an important one for us because the option price is £2.03 and the current share price is £3.10, so there is a significant percentage increase for staff.”

However, its five-year sharesave scheme is underwater, with an option price of £5.17 compared to a share price of £3.10. The 1,600 members will have the option to buy more shares at a lower price. Provider Equiniti will help M&S manage this for members.

M&S will communicate the options available for members of both schemes through a series of lunch-and-learn sessions provided by Wealth at Work. Alan Daniels, manager of employee share schemes at the retailer, said: “Staff do not have to make their mind up on 1 January, they have six months. If they believe that the share price might go up further, we can explain those options to them and the impact of making a decision later on. It is about having the facts to make a decision based on their own circumstances.”

Other communications include a maturity pack, email messages, individual letters and, in some cases, personal phone calls.

Govier added: “We are trying to make it as easy as possible for staff to understand. We put a lot of effort into the communications, making sure they make the right decision for them.”

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