Pension plans

Defined contribution plans

The Group operates a number of defined contribution pension plans, which include stakeholder pension plans whose assets are held separately from those of the Group, in independently administered funds.

The total expense relating to these plans in the current year was £1.80m (2016: £1.61m) and represents contributions payable by the Group to the funds.

At the end of the financial year, there were outstanding pension contributions of £0.12m (2016: £0.12m), which are included in creditors.

Share based payments

The Group Share Options (including SAYE plans) provide for an exercise price equal to the average quoted market price of the Group shares on the date of grant. In the case of SAYE, this price is discounted in line with HMRC limits. The vesting period is generally three, five or seven years. The options expire if they remain unexercised after the exercise period has lapsed. Furthermore, options are forfeited if the employee leaves the Group before the options vest, unless for retirement, redundancy or health reasons. The options are equity settled.

The number and weighted average exercise prices of share options are as follows:

OptionsWeighted average exercise priceOptionsWeighted average exercise price
Outstanding at beginning of year3,486,7060.353,567,9610.26
Granted during the year438,1751.07495,2641.05
Forfeited/lapsed during the year(141,909)0.47(32,068)0.91
Exercised during the year(2,496,555)0.14(544,451)0.33
Outstanding at the end of the year1,286,4171.003,486,7060.35
Exercisable at the end of the year2,024,6850.09

The options outstanding at 31 March 2017 had a weighted average remaining contractual life of 1.7 years (2016: 2.8 years) and exercise prices ranging from £0.25 to £1.07 (2016: £0.085 to £1.05).

The weighted average share price at the date of exercise for share options exercised in 2017 was 173.00p (2016: 114.30p).

The fair value of services received in return for share options granted is measured by reference to the fair value of share options granted. The estimate of the fair value of the services received is measured based on Black Scholes, Binomial Lattice and Monte Carlo models. The contractual life of the option is used as an input into this model.

Board deferred equity bonus shares

The Board deferred equity bonus shares have been discussed in more detail in the Remuneration report.

The number of deferred equity bonus shares is as follows:

Deferred equity bonus shares
Outstanding at beginning of year3,372,922
2017 deferred equity bonus shares awarded499,900
2014, 2015, 2016 Accelerated deferred equity bonus shares exercised*(1,050,044)
Outstanding at end of year2,822,778

* The accelerated deferred equity bonus shares exercised were for J Barker and T Tan in line with their good leaver statuses on retirement

The above includes 95,354 shares for 2016, 144,943 for 2015 and 185,282 for 2014 for T Tan relating to his employment as TR Asia MD. He did not sit on the main plc Board prior to retirement on 31 December 2015.

These nil cost options are subject to a three year service period and the fair value has been calculated using the Discounted Dividend model. This is based on expected dividends over the three year term. They are equity settled shares.

The weighted average share price at the date of exercise for share options exercised in 2017 was £1.35 (2016: no shares exercised).

The options outstanding at 31 March 2017 had a weighted average remaining contractual life of 1.6 years (2016: 2.2 years).

Senior manager deferred bonus shares

The number of deferred bonus shares is as follows:

Deferred bonus shares
Outstanding at beginning of year
Granted during the year1,744,094
Outstanding at end of year1,744,094

This is a new nil-cost option scheme implemented in the year. The shares granted in the year are subject to a base award and a multiplier award. The base award requires a three year service period to be achieved and is also subject to personal performance conditions being met during the performance period. The multiplier award is determined by a non-market performance condition. This requires the Group's underlying organic profit before tax in the financial year 2019 to be £18.5m (representing a compound annual growth rate of 5.0% from 31 March 2016) for the total payout to be 1.5x the base award. A maximum payout of 2.0x the base award can be achieved if this metric is £21.3m (representing a compound annual growth rate of 10.0% from 31 March 2016). If it falls between £18.5m and £21.3m the multiplier applied is calculated on a straight line basis to determine the number of awards. If it is below £18.5m the multiplier used is 1.0x.

The awards were granted on 30 December 2016 and are due to vest in December 2019. The method of settlement for these shares are a mixture of equity and cash settled. The fair value has been calculated using the Discounted Dividend model. This was at grant date for the equity settled awards. The fair value for the cash settled awards are remeasured at the reporting date.

In line with IFRS2 the amount recognised as an expense has been adjusted to reflect the number of awards for which the service and non-market performance conditions are expected to be met.

Date of
Type of
No. out- standing on 31 March
Share price on date of grant
Exercise price
Expected volatility
Vesting period
Expected life
Risk- free rate
Expected annual dividend
Fair value
01/10/2010SAYE 7 YearBlack Scholes6,4900.3700.25047.867.007.002.431.360.20
01/10/2011SAYE 7 YearBlack Scholes7,9200.4100.45047.637.007.000.560.000.19
01/10/2012SAYE 5 YearBlack Scholes47,1390.4600.35048.
01/10/2012SAYE 7 YearBlack Scholes5,2800.4600.35048.
01/10/2013SAYE 5 YearBlack Scholes21,0000.6800.50046.
01/10/2014SAYE 3 YearBlack Scholes204,1201.0501.00035.763.
01/10/2014SAYE 5 YearBlack Scholes111,2011.0501.00035.765.005.001.731.330.33
01/10/2015SAYE 3 YearBlack Scholes336,3041.1401.05035.
01/10/2015SAYE 5 YearBlack Scholes120,5621.1401.05034.605.
01/10/2016SAYE 3 YearBlack Scholes366,5801.7201.07033.833.003.000.401.630.68
01/10/2016SAYE 5 YearBlack Scholes59,8211.7201.07032.805.005.000.701.630.71
Total Share Options1,286,417
18/09/2014Board deferred equityDDM^820,9891.050n/an/a2.792.79n/a1.331.02
09/09/2015Board deferred equityDDM^740,0981.160n/an/a3.793.79n/a1.811.11
15/07/2016Board deferred equityDDM^761,7911.350n/an/a4.004.00n/a2.071.28
31/03/2017*Board deferred equityDDM^499,9002.140n/an/a4.004.00n/a1.402.05
30/12/2016SM deferred bonus equityDDM^1,641,7322.050n/an/a3.003.00n/a1.461.96
30/12/2016SM deferred bonus cashDDM^102,3622.050n/an/a3.003.00n/a1.402.05

^ Discounted Dividend model

* Final date of grant will be date of formal agreement

Expected volatility was determined by calculating the historic volatility of the Group's share price over one, two and three years back from the date of grant. The expected life used in the model has been adjusted, based on management's best estimate for the effects of non-transferability, exercise restrictions and behavioural considerations.

The Group recognised total charges of £1.51m and £1.69m in relation to share based payment transactions in 2017 and 2016 respectively. Of this, £16,412 (2016: £nil) relates to cash settled awards to which a liability is recognised on the balance sheet. The remaining amount relates to equity settled awards.

As at 31 March 2017, outstanding options to subscribe for ordinary shares of 5p were as follows:

Grant date/employees entitledNumber of instrumentsContractual life of options
01/10/10/SAYE6,490Oct 2017
01/10/11/SAYE7,920Oct 2018
01/10/12/SAYE52,419Oct 2017, 2019
01/10/13/SAYE21,000Oct 2018
01/10/14/SAYE315,321Oct 2017, 2019
01/10/15/SAYE456,866Oct 2018, 2020
01/10/16/SAYE426,401Oct 2019, 2021
Total outstanding options1,286,417
Board deferred equity bonus shares2,822,778Sep 2017, 2018, 2019, Jul 2020
Senior manager deferred bonus shares1,744,094Dec 2019

All options require continued employment from grant date to the later of vesting date or exercise date.