This week, Equiniti will invite over 190,000 of M&S’ UK registered private investors to participate in the scheme, which enables them to use the money from their dividend payment to purchase an M&S Shareholder Card, up to the value of £1000 at a 10% discount of its face value.
The new M&S Shareholder Card will operate much like a gift card by offering credit that can be used to shop in M&S’ UK stores and online. However, it will remain an exclusive benefit for M&S private investors.
Amanda Mellor, M&S Group Secretary & Head of Corporate Governance commented: “Our private investors are also some of our most loyal customers and we’re continually looking at how we can best engage this important group of stakeholders. We’ve listened carefully to their feedback and believe that in the new Equiniti scheme, we’ve identified a simple mechanic that rewards their investment in the company”.
M&S first shared its plans to enhance offers for its private shareholders – who as a group own approximately 30% of the equity in the FTSE 100 retailer - in its 2014 Annual Report. Since then, Equiniti has worked in partnership with M&S to design a reward scheme that caters for the needs of its private investors and provides access to a discount for shopping with M&S.
Stuart Ellen, Managing Director of Registration Services at Equiniti commented: “This is an innovative scheme and we hope that with M&S leading the way, we can look to extend this to the many other Equiniti FTSE clients.”
Investors can choose how much of their dividend they wish to use to buy an M&S Shareholder Card, up to a maximum card value of £1000 (equivalent to a dividend payment exchange of £900). Any remaining dividend balance would then be paid as per the individual investor’s current dividend instruction. Equiniti will write to M&S private investors over the next week to invite them to sign up by June, ahead of the next dividend payment, expected to be in July 2015. Participation in the scheme is optional and those subscribing will continue to receive their current shareholder vouchers, which are mailed each January.