The Axa Group has granted 50 free ordinary shares to all its employees worldwide as part of the company’s strategic plan, ‘Ambition Axa.’
More than 120,000 employees received free shares last year, with part of the issuance subject to the fulfilment of a performance condition, which was set by Axa’s board of directors.
The directors stated at least one of two goals related to Ambition Axa must be achieved, including an increase in underlying earnings per share, or an increase in the group’s customer satisfaction index.
Both of these conditions were met at the end of last year, meaning the board has granted the remaining tranche of free shares.
‘This grant of free shares to all our employees is intended to both recognise the many contributions of our employees around the world and to ensure that they share in the benefits of the group's success going forward,’ said George Stansfield, head of the AXA group human resources.
At the end of last year, AXA's employees held approximately 7.43% of the share capital of the group.
The news comes as Axa Group reported total revenues were up 5% to €90.1 billion, while underlying earnings were up 9% to €4.3 billion. However, net income of €4.2 billion marked a decline of 4%.
The board of directors has also proposed to increase the dividend by 4% to €0.72 per share.Meanwhile Axa Wealth saw assets jump from £18.9 million to £21.6 billion, with platform assets increasing by more than 50%, from £3.5 billion to £5.3 billion.
Assets also increased at its fund of funds arm Architas, rising 20% from £9.4 billion to £11.3 billion. Architas introduced clean share classes in preparation for the RDR, which added to its offering of three multi-asset fund ranges, comprising passive, active and blended.
The group said during 2012, strong investment performance saw inflows across both active and passive offerings, with particularly strong growth in the multi-asset passive fund range.
Mike Kellard, chief executive officer, AXA Wealth, said: 'The AXA Wealth business was structured with the RDR in mind, with both our wrap business through Elevate, and specialist individual products business, built on a tailored model to support different customer groups.
‘This approach is to ensure we offer strong service to our advisers with genuine focus, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach allowing advisers to choose which clients are suited to a wrap account and which just need a particular tax wrapper in order to accommodate this flexibility.’