Employees of Britam can now own shares in the company after shareholders approved a proposal for the creation of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
The plan, now awaiting approval by the Capital Markets Authority ( CMA), is an incentive to the employees and it will also play a pivotal role in retaining them. Most importantly, it will give them an ownership interest in the company. Britam now joins other publicly quoted companies in Kenya that have introduced ESOP.
During the group’s 21st Annual General Meeting, the board of directors recommended a dividend of Kshs. 581. 5 million, similar to 2015. Britam has consistently declared dividends to shareholders since the company was listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in 2011.
To improve and enhance corporate governance, the shareholders also approved the appointment of Ms Caroline Kigen, Mr Mohamed Karama and Mr Mike Laiser as directors in the holdings company board.
Ms. Kigen, a former lecturer at the University of Nairobi and Strathmore University, is a financial management and corporate governance consultant. Mr. Karama on the other hand is a Certified Public Accountant and has previously worked as a partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Mr. Laiser is an enterprise development economist, with expertise in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), microfinance, industrial development and management.
Amb.Dr Francis Muthaura, the current chairman of the holdings company board, was once again re-elected to serve as a director in the board, alongside Dr Peter K Munga and Mr. Jimnah Mbaru.
Addressing shareholders in the same event, the group managing director Dr. Benson Wairegi observed that Britam is now actively pursuing property development as a diversification strategy. In that regard, the company has broken ground for the construction of 163 high end serviced apartments in Kilimani at a cost of Kshs. 3. 3 billion. Other property projects are set to be unveiled in the near future. Dr. Wairegi also noted that the 31 storey iconic Britam Tower built at a cost of Kshs. 4 billion was 97 per cent complete.
Britam’s life business maintained its industry leadership position in 2016, growing its market share to 23.51% from 19.59% in 2015. It registered a gross written premium (GWP) growth of 41.29% against an industry growth rate of 17.72% in 2016. In the same breath, Britam Asset Managers, a subsidiary of the holding company, posted tremendous growth within the year, with assets under management increasing to Kshs. 108 billion from Ksh 90. 5 billion in 2015.
The group managing director also disclosed that in order to comply with the law that requires listed companies to add Plc so as to distinguish them from the private ones, Britam Holdings Limited has changed its name to Britam Holdings Plc.