Equiniti Employee Services Forum
On the 9 September, Equiniti hosted the 12th annual Employee Services Forum with over 100 delegates attending a full day conference within the beautiful Ashdown Park Hotel, Sussex. This year’s agenda was packed with topical and informative market updates, insightful case studies, and panel discussions with delegates joining in the debate. With a selection of breakout sessions, themes included global share plans, employee communications, discretionary plans, compliance and other tax hot topics.
In what has been another strong and eventful year for Employee Services, the division showcased what had been achieved against a background of significant investment and new products from Equiniti including PeopleSpaceTM and International ESP Portals. One highlight was a presentation, by Equiniti Creative, of an innovative mobile channel and how it can be used to engage employees and make communications more effective.
Phil Ainsley, Managing Director, Employee Services, was delighted with the Forum and commented:
It was great to see so many of our clients, as well as the advisers that we work with, attend. I think everyone benefits from sharing current best practice with industry experts in an inspiring setting.
Thank you to the speakers and everyone who came along. We have had some really positive feedback and we look forward to seeing you all next year.
HMRC online filing
In our last round up we provided information about technical issues with the ERS Online service which impacted some companies as they attempted to file their annual returns. The latest news from HMRC is that due to the fault, some online returns submitted prior to 20 July will need to be re-submitted. HMRC will be writing direct to the companies which we believe affect over 3,400 returns. Companies asked to re-submit will not face penalties.
In addition to this, HMRC are concerned that some companies have registered a share scheme for the tax year 2014/2015 but have not submitted an annual return. This could be due to an oversight in filing an annual return. There may be instances where a company has made an error in registering a scheme – for example, by duplicating registrations. Where this is the case the system will still require an annual return to be submitted on the ERS Online service. So HMRC are encouraging companies with share schemes to check that they have submitted an annual return for each scheme they have registered – including schemes they might have wrongly set up.
Financial Services Compensation Scheme (‘FSCS’)
The Prudential Regulatory Authority has issued changes that impact any deposits protected under the FSCS arrangements and this includes Sharesave savings. There is a requirement to send information to all Sharesave participants about this change and a letter and information sheet is being sent to all participants in October.
ESP Portal – Roll-out of enhancements
We’re always looking to improve and extend the services provided to employees through our ESP Portal. Portal can now reference Close Period data improving the dynamic messaging available for PDMRs when making sale instructions. More recently a service was implemented which enables employees to print off a confirmation statement of the shares that have been released to them from an employee share plan. This can be used when an ISA manager requests a notice of exercise/letter of appropriation.
Other enhancements have impacted international employees with changes that include translations of screens (into languages such as French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Italian) and an integrated account opening process for the Global Nominee. The ESP Portal is highly intuitive and customisable presenting employees with the language, screens and online choices relevant to them and the jurisdiction in which they are resident.
"These developments are a natural extension for our ESP Portal and continue to make our customer proposition better", says Phil Ainsley. He continues:
We have a number of other projects in planning and continue to invest to enhance employees’ experience.
For more information, contact your Equiniti Relationship Manager.