Whitbread, Legal & General, Safestore, Bloomsbury, and Renishaw offer useful shareholder benefits at a reasonable buy-in cost.

5 best shareholder perks to consider for 2023

One of the little-known benefits of investing in FTSE 350 businesses is that these companies offer perks to shareholders designed as a little ‘thank-you,’ both to encourage shareholder participation and to reward long-term holders.

However, many of these perks come as one-off annual benefits, with qualification decided by whether an investor is holding enough shares in a company at the end of the tax year, i.e., 5 April 2023. And while not enough to justify an investment by themselves, it’s worth noting that some perks can add up to substantial financial rewards which are often completely tax-free.

For clarity, this is a personal list based on my own lifestyle and needs, which will vary wildly from person to person, and includes only UK-based companies. One of the most famous (though discontinued) benefits was US-based; Disney shareholders used to profit from heavily discounted theme park tickets.

However, I do utilise all these benefits. Many shareholder perks are in practice not very useful, and others are financially inaccessible compared to the benefit promised.

For example, Next (LON: NEXT) offers shareholders holding 100 shares or more a one-off annual discount on a full-priced order per year with no value limit on the order. This is an excellent benefit, but the buy-in cost of the shares is currently circa £6,600.

To take the point further, Telecom Plus (LON: TEP) investors with 1,500+ shares costing over £30,000 at present benefit from a 10% discount on energy bills among other useful things. This initial investment is clearly too much to be worthwhile unless an investor bought in years ago or benefits from employee share discounts.

It’s also worth mentioning that many of these benefits require picking up a phone and asking either the company or your platform to provide a discount/shareholder card.

Legal & General

Best 5 shareholder perks

Whitbread (LON: WTB) offers investors who hold 64 shares or more the opportunity to acquire a shareholder benefits card which gives a couple of useful benefits; first is 10% off food and soft drinks for up 10 four people at most UK restaurants, though this isn’t particularly valuable as similar offers can readily be found online.

However, the card also offers a free breakfast for up to four people staying at any Premier Inn for the duration of their stay, and at £9.99 per breakfast this can add up to a decent benefit for regular travellers. Though would-be investors must weigh up the initial £2,000 cost of the 64 shares, these only cost £1,300 when I bought in.

Legal & General (LON: LGEN) investors not only benefit from a strong FTSE 100 dividend aristocrat, but the insurer also offers shareholders with as little as one full share three core benefits.

The first, and admittedly particularly useful for most, is the offer of a £250 Love2shop gift card upon a successful application for a later life or ‘equity release’ mortgage.

However, shareholders also benefit from a 10% additional cash sum on over-50s life insurance and an impressive 25% discount for all life insurance premiums. For context, this benefit covers the cost of the initial £2.50 single share investment in its first month for most policy holders.

Safestore Holdings (LON: SAFE) investors who put up circa £1,000 for the initial 100 requisite shares benefit from 25% off storage, and 20% of all merchandise. Centres are fully staffed with 24-hour CCTV, and transport options are available at request.

This benefit saves me just over £300 per year, and I bought the shares for £800 a couple of years ago. A year from now, the benefit will have paid for the shares outright.

Bloomsbury Publishing

Bloomsbury Publishing (LON: BMY) investors need only buy one share, currently at around £4.50 each, to benefit from 35% off the RRP of all printed books distributed by the publisher.

It’s worth noting that similar discounts can be found on most Bloomsbury books at Amazon, Waterstones et al, but I have found the deduction very useful for academic texts where discounts are not usually as steep or available. For context, an order for one book pays off the investment in full.

Finally, Renishaw (LON: RSW) investors can benefit from substantially discounted prices from subsidiary Wotton Travel, reducing the costs of flight tickets, package holidays, cruises, and airport parking and lounges.

These shareholder benefits were only recently reinstated after the decimation of the pandemic years, and there appears to be no minimum shareholding.

At around £40 per share, these reduced prices can be valuable as the company endeavours to ‘either beat or match internet prices’ with its access to the Advantage Travel Partnership Consortia deal-making market, and the Focus Travel Partnership which offers preferential rates.

With tongue firmly in cheek, this means that for the meagre price of £3,047, I can leave the contents of my home in storage at a 25% discount, enjoy a free breakfast at my Premier Inn hotel before my discounted Wooton Travel flight takes off, and then read my cut-rate Bloomsbury novel on the plane, safe in the knowledge that if all goes wrong, my family will fully benefit from my discounted life insurance.

And still own shares in five quality FTSE 350 companies.

This article has been prepared for information purposes only by Charles Archer. It does not constitute advice, and no party accepts any liability for either accuracy or for investing decisions made using the information provided.

Further, it is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

Charles Archer is an experienced financial writer specialising in monetary law. With a background in stock market and private equity analysis, he’s worked for many years as a freelance investment author,...

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