Santander unveils sharesave scheme for Abbey staff

Abbey is introducing its first employee sharesave scheme since being taken over by the Spanish bank Banco Santander in 2004.

This is the first time a scheme of this nature has been introduced in the Santander group and will be linked to the Spanish bank’s share price. Santander previously awarded Abbey staff 100 free shares each when it took over the UK bank and a further 100 free shares when it celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Santander also recently offered Alliance & Leicester’s staff 100 free shares to encourage them to stay on during its takeover of that bank.

Abbey’s sharesave scheme will be offered to its 16,000 staff this month.

Employees who take part in the scheme, provided by Yorkshire Building Society, can save between £5 and £250 a month over a three- or five-year period. Participants in the scheme will also be entitled to a 20% discount on the starting price of shares.

Communication of the sharesave scheme started at the beginning of August when posters and leaflets were distributed around the bank’s branches and offices. A televised advert was also shown to employees, featuring an Italian chef who described how all elements of the scheme worked.

In September, letters inviting staff to join the scheme will be sent to their home addresses. The scheme will also be the first new perk to appear on Abbey’s new online benefits portal, which was launched in July.

Ian Cunning, reward consultant at Abbey, said: “We have been working with our internal communications team, as well as Yorkshire Building Society and our administrators, to put together an innovative communications strategy that we hope will engage employees across many locations.”

Employees will be able to sign up for the scheme online and by telephone.