Countries of operation:Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States
Market Capitalisation:Australian $410 million
Number of employees:374
Award types granted:Restricted Share Awards, Loan Shares and Share/Performance Rights
Products and services used
OFX is a global provider of online international payment services for consumer and business clients. The OFX Group provides services under the single global brand, OFX, using a single domain name www.ofx.com.
OFX supports their cultural transformation with Shareworks
Leading international money services company, OFX, has been using Shareworks for their employee share plans since 2018. Chief Legal Officer and Company Secretary Freya Smith talks about their decision to use Shareworks and the impact it’s had on the OFX business.
Looking for answers
OFX put their registry services out to tender in July 2017, looking to replace their internal system.
“Our original RFP was more focused on registry services, which just had plans tacked on,” said Freya. “But we were so impressed with Shareworks and the APAC team that we decided to bring them on for plan management and split out the registry services.”
Excel not excellent for share plans
OFX describes its competitive point of difference as ‘human+digital’, and in looking for a provider for its share plan management, it was looking for a provider that shared that approach. Freya said key decision drivers for OFX were the platform technology itself as well as the expertise of the Shareworks APAC team. OFX had been using a manual process to manage plans which was not scaleable, and the IP and expertise lay with just a few key staff.
“The Shareworks platform was far superior to what the registries were offering, both from a software perspective and from the perspective of the team and expertise behind it,” she said. “Our manual process was inefficient and not user friendly. Now the user experience is completely different, so far beyond what we had been able to offer previously. From an admin and reporting perspective it’s so much easier, our Group Financial Controller has found it really simple to pull information for projects like the Annual Report. It’s immensely helpful. To add that, it’s the team at Shareworks that are there when we need them, helpful, well-informed, and ensuring that it all goes well.”
The migration process, which involves bringing existing employee share allocation data into the Shareworks environment, was fairly straightforward for OFX, thanks to the care internal staff had taken in the past. “The data itself was pretty good, but that came down to having a dedicated and experienced person managing it,” Freya said. “The implementation was seamless – I couldn’t speak more highly of the implementation team. I can see how this implementation could be a difficult process, but the team made it really smooth. Everyone we’ve worked with on the Shareworks APAC team is star quality and that’s unusual – you usually get just one or two amazing people at vendors, but the whole team there is really impressive.”
The complexity of managing a fast-growing organisation with employees in multiple countries is a problem faced by many young companies. For OFX, this meant they weren’t able to offer a fully-fledged employee share plan until they had a solution like Shareworks in place.
“When we only had a couple of Executives in one plan it was ok, but now we have a much larger and more global Executive Team, plus a global Employee Share Plan. Managing it at that scale just wouldn’t have been possible before we had Shareworks. From a legal and compliance perspective we have also found their expertise to be invaluable, the team at Shareworks APAC assisted us to think about issues we wouldn’t have recognised without them as a partner. They’ve been very proactive in terms of giving us new ideas and things to think about and have gone way above and beyond what I would expect.”
A cultural issue
Implementing share plans at a broader level has been important in supporting OFX’s company culture and building a sense of inclusion, Freya said.
“Providing equity across our team has been key part of the culture plan and our employee value proposition,” she said. “Previously equity had only been available to executives, so aligning people with the shareholder experience and helping them feel part of the story has been so important. It’s also key to our transition from a start-up into a mature business, to be able to offer equity more broadly.”
About the AuthorMore Content by Sara Pinkus