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RNS
Rightmove Plc   -  RMV   

Final Results

Released 07:00 01-Mar-2019

RNS Number : 5047R
Rightmove Plc
01 March 2019
 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Highlights

Financial highlights


 

2018
 

2017
 

Change

Revenue

£267.8m

£243.3m

+10%

Operating profit

£198.6m

£178.3m

+11%

Underlying operating profit(1)

£203.3m

£184.4m

+10%

Basic earnings per share(3)

Underlying basic earnings per share(2)(3)

Final dividend(3)

17.8p

18.3p

4.0p

15.7p

16.3p

3.6p

+13%

+12%

+11%

 

·    Revenue up 10% year on year with growth driven by our Agency and New Homes businesses

·    Underlying operating profit(1) up 10% and operating profit up 11%

·    Underlying basic earnings per share(2) up 12% and basic earnings per share up 13%

·    £168.5m (2017: £140.4m) of cash returned to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks in the year

·   Final dividend of 4.0p (2017: 3.6p(3)) per ordinary share making a total dividend of 6.5p for the year  (2017: 5.8p(3)), up 12%

Operational Highlights

·    Stable membership with Agency and New Homes customers up slightly to 20,454

·   Virtually the whole of the property market in one place with one million UK residential properties advertised on Rightmove, which is more than any other UK portal

·   Continued traffic growth with visits up over 4% averaging nearly 132 million visits per month(4) and time on site up 5% at over 1 billion minutes per month(4)

·    Average Revenue Per Advertiser (ARPA)(5) up £83 to £1,005 per month

·   Progress made towards making renting easier and more efficient with the first phase of the innovative Rightmove Tenant Passport in early roll out
 

(1)  Before share-based payments and NI on share-based incentives.

(2)  Before share-based payments, NI on share-based incentives and no related adjustment for tax.

(3)  2017 comparatives have been restated for ease of comparability to reflect the 10:1 share subdivision effective
31 August 2018.

(4)  Source: Google Analytics.

(5)  Revenue from Agency and New Homes advertisers in a given month divided by the total number of advertisers during the month, measured as a monthly average over the year.

 

Current trading and outlook

We believe the UK online property advertising market will continue to grow, despite the continuing uncertainties stemming from the result of the EU referendum. Consumers and customers are becoming increasingly digital and customer spend continues to transition online from traditional advertising channels as they take advantage of the efficiencies we bring.

 

Our clear market leadership coupled with the value of our digital solutions and our unrivalled data positions us well for the future. We remain vigilant to the macro environment, but Rightmove is not materially impacted by the property market cycle except in the most extreme circumstances. With ARPA continuing to grow and our commitment to further innovation, the Board remains confident of making further progress in 2019.

 

Peter Brooks-Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, said:
 

"2018 was another strong year for Rightmove. We extended our market leadership and reinforced our position as the place consumers turn to first when thinking about moving home. In doing so, we demonstrated that Rightmove is a business which can continue to grow strongly even in uncertain times. We focus relentlessly on creating a more efficient marketplace, constantly innovating to provide deeper insights to our agent and developer customers, and an even simpler, more intuitive user experience for home hunters.

 

Visits and time spent on site both continued to grow, with over 1.5 billion visits from consumers over the year. The resilience of our customer base is shown by our stable membership numbers, with particularly notable growth coming from New Homes developments. I'm excited by our plans for 2019 as we continue to focus on innovation to make home moving easier."
 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Chairman's Statement  

 

I am pleased to present Rightmove plc's results for the year ended 31 December 2018.

 

Having completed our thirteenth year as a listed company, our founding principles remain the same despite the pace of innovation and technological change.

 

We remain easy to use and free to home hunters. Our leading online brand entertains, informs and helps a consistently growing and industry leading audience across every local housing market in
Great Britain.

 

We are advocates for the professional estate agency and new home developer sectors; which the public rely on for local knowledge and quality service. Our value proposition is clear as in addition to delivering an unrivalled and relevant audience every year, crucially, we invest and provide digital innovations to our customers that enable them to compete for transactions and operate more efficiently.

 

As the marketplace for UK property, our customers are assured that our aim is to support them. Our business model is robust because the majority of our revenue comes from the subscriptions our customers pay to be part of that marketplace. As such, we are not directly linked to housing transaction volumes and neither participate in the upside nor downside of all but the most extreme events of the cyclical home sales market. 

 

Our ambition to remain a sustainable growth company for the benefit of all stakeholders is undeterred as we continually evolve our value proposition for the benefit of our customers, consumers and shareholders. Our model and approach has historically worked well and we believe it will continue to underpin our future success.

 

Highlighting one example that underscores Rightmove's vision and ethos, an increased propensity to rent in the UK is leading the industry to increase its focus on the lettings market. This industry shift increases the demand for digital tools focussed on improving the lettings experience for a large addressable market of renters, landlords and estate agents. After thoughtful research and development throughout 2018, Rightmove launched a Tenant Passport proposition designed to improve the reliability and completeness of information required to rent a home; thereby reducing the administrative burden and wasted time for all involved in the process.

 

The Tenant Passport is the first in a number of innovations serving the lettings market and one of many useful digital tools in our product pipeline that serve both home hunters and housing professionals. We look forward to many more years of providing increasing value to these audiences as well as our supportive shareholders.

 

 Financial results

The strength of our business model and core value proposition once again underpins a healthy set of financial results in 2018. Underlying operating profit(1) was up 10% to £203.3m (2017: £184.4m) and operating profit was up 11% at £198.6m (2017: £178.3m) driven by revenue growth of 10% to £267.8m (2017: £243.3m) and a disciplined approach to cost control. Underlying basic earnings per share(2) and basic earnings per share were up 12% and 13% respectively at 18.3p (2017: 16.3p (3)) and 17.8p (2017: 15.7p (3)), even greater than the percentage increase in profits and in part as a result of 25.0m shares bought back during the year at a cost of £113.5m as part of our policy of returning free cash flow to shareholders.

 

Returns to shareholders and dividend

Our commitment to return excess cash promptly to investors continues to be as strong as ever and in 2018 we returned a further £168.5m (2017: £140.4m) to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks, bringing our total cash returned to shareholders as a listed company to over £1bn. Operating cash conversion(4) was again very strong and remains in excess of 100% of operating profit.

The Board increased the interim dividend to 2.5p (H1 2017: 2.2p(3)) per ordinary share, which was paid on 2 November 2018. We are confident in our ability to deliver sustainable returns to shareholders and consistent with our policy of increasing the total dividend for the year broadly in line with earnings per share, the Board recommends a final dividend of 4.0p (2017: 3.6p(3)) per ordinary share. This brings the total dividend for the year to 6.5p (2017: 5.8p(3)), an increase of 12%. The final dividend, subject to shareholder approval, will be paid on 31 May 2019 to all shareholders on the register on 3 May 2019.

Corporate governance
One of the Board's responsibilities is to ensure that the Group applies good governance to facilitate effective management of a high growth business. As the Company's Chairman I am pleased to note that the Group is continuing to foster an environment of entrepreneurial leadership and innovation in a framework of responsible governance and risk management as set out in the Corporate Governance Report on pages 43 to 51. 

Board changes

Lorna Tilbian was appointed as a non-executive director on 1 February 2018, bringing with her a wealth of capital markets experience, following a distinguished career in the media sector. Lorna's appointment is also noteworthy in that our Board now has 50/50 gender representation and we have been prominently recognised for our focus on diversity within the Hampton Alexander FTSE 100 rankings.

 

At the AGM in May 2018, a significant minority of votes were received against the re-election of myself as Chairman and Peter Williams, our Senior Independent Director. During the Autumn I actively consulted with a majority of shareholders in relation to our plans for orderly Board succession and to address concerns about the Board commitments of both myself and Peter. Following these conversations, I believe that we have consensus support for an orderly succession plan that contemplates the further development of Chair candidates on the Board and the recruitment of up to two non-executives with appropriate profiles, prior to the May 2020 AGM, on which date I intend to resign from the Board as Chairman.

 

Peter Williams, after more than five years of exemplary Board service, will not stand for re-election at the May 2019 AGM, to make room for a potential Chair candidate with the ability to serve as Board Chair for a longer tenure. Jacqueline de Rojas will be appointed as Senior Independent Director in May 2019 and has agreed to oversee the committee process of appointing a new Chair prior to the 2020 AGM. Lorna Tilbian will chair the Remuneration Committee following an understudy year of active committee participation.

 

I'd like to personally thank Peter for his support and sage advice to me as Senior Independent Director as well as his valuable contributions to the Rightmove Board and all committees over the past five years.

 

Looking forward

Once again, the Board and I are grateful for the confidence and support of all our customers and for the talent and dedication of our employees. We are clear that our goal is to continue to work together to maintain Rightmove's position as the essential marketplace for home hunters and for property advertisers to reach by far the widest possible audience.

 

 

 

 

Scott Forbes

Chairman

 

(1)  Before share-based payments charge of £4.3m (2017: £4.9m) and NI charge of £0.4m (2017: £1.2m) on share-based incentives.

(2)  Before share-based payments charge of £4.3m (2017: £4.9m) and NI charge of £0.4m (2017: £1.2m) on share-based incentives and no related adjustment for tax.

(3)  2017 comparatives have been restated for ease of comparability to reflect the 10:1 share subdivision effective
31 August 2018.

(4)  Cash generated from operating activities of £200.4m compared to operating profit as reported in the profit or loss of £198.6m.

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Chief Executive's review

Rightmove, the UK's number one property portal, has delivered another year of strong growth. Trust, continued delivery of increased value to all our customers and consumers and restless innovation have taken on increased significance against a backdrop of continuing political and economic uncertainty, and these are all proven strengths of Rightmove.  

 

Over the past year we have reinforced our position as central to the UK home moving process. Visits from home movers grew by over 4% and they spent over a billion minutes on Rightmove every month in 2018, up 5% year on year. This growth has seen our market share of time spent on the top four property portals grow to 76%(2) (2017:73%).

 

2018 highlighted the resilience of our Agency customer base, with only 2% fewer branches at the start of 2019 than the previous year. Our number of advertisers remained at an all-time high of nearly 20,500 with the slight reduction in Agency branches being balanced by an increase in New Homes developments, which are at their highest levels since 2009. Less certain times underline the value of our proposition to our customers and the robustness of the Rightmove business model. Our revenue increased by 10% to £267.8m with underlying operating profit(2) up 10% to £203.3m and operating profit up 11% to £198.6m.

 

Our continued progress is testament to our unwavering focus on the UK property advertising market and the huge effort Rightmovers have made to build our business in partnership with our industry customers. We remain confident in our ability to deliver further growth as we continue to shape the UK property market, and innovate to make our marketplace simpler and more efficient.

 

Our strategy - making home moving easier

 

The place consumers turn to first and engage with most

Our position at the heart of the home moving process in the UK comes from being the place where consumers turn to first when thinking about property. Rightly, home movers are ever more demanding of the technology and services offered to them. Rightmove's focus on continual improvement and innovation to simplify the start of the home moving process and create the most compelling experience for consumers stands us in good stead.

 

We continue to achieve this by providing consumers with the most up to date, engaging and comprehensive property content together with the best search, research and home moving tools to support their home moving journey.  Of the hundreds of updates to our platforms each month, recent improvements included 'Keyword Sort' which provides the ability to sort search results by keywords taking into account natural language such as 'not' as a negation and the use of synonyms.

 

For those home hunters who are struggling to find their dream home we have also introduced an   auto-suggest feature to help consumers who find no properties matching their criteria. The feature suggests changes to their search criteria to help them explore other properties nearby or at a similar price.

 

Consumers expect the platform they rely on to be available all of the time. Testament to the engineering prowess and dedication of the team, Rightmove again recorded an industry leading level of 'uptime' of 99.997%.  More consumers than ever turned to Rightmove in 2018 with over 1.5 billion visits across all our platforms. Those consumers spent a record 12.3 billion minutes on Rightmove, up 5% on 2017. Our market share of traffic across both desktop and mobile was 76%(1) with the mobile component even higher at 79%(1).

 

A significant proportion of people buying a home also have a home to sell. Researching the property market is an important step for many potential home sellers and is a vital step for potential landlords. The comprehensive, simple tools we provide for researching the market help sellers and landlords understand the market more easily and give them another reason to turn to Rightmove first. Our research tools, such as sold prices data, are by far the most widely used in the UK and provide the unique benefit of access to our catalogue of one million currently listed UK properties and 41 million historical property records. Perhaps reflecting the increase in pent up demand in the marketplace, consumers spent over 450 million minutes using our research tools in 2018 which was up by over 8% on the previous year.

 

We have consistently invested in our brand and product since 2001 creating a trusted brand where 80% of the visits to Rightmove come from consumers typing the brand directly into their web browser or launching our app.

 

Our brand strength has been reinforced by our 'find your happy' campaign. Our 'always on' activity has focused equally on the rental market as well as those looking to sell and / or buy. The campaign tells human stories to illustrate why people move, not just the search process. Topics vary from downsizing and growing families, setting up home with a new partner, finding a new home after a divorce and, in our latest TV advert, having insufficient space for a growing family. These stories cover all segments of the market from first time buyers through to downsizers.

 

Our investment in brand building will continue to focus on national television through our partnership with Channel 4 supported by online video on demand and digital advertising. We will also continue to focus on our presence in London with 400 branded taxis and our exclusive partnership with the London Evening Standard.

 

Unrivalled exposure, leads and products for our customers

With visits to our platforms growing for the 17th consecutive year we continued to increase the exposure of our customers' brands and properties. This exposure generated over 42 million leads for our customers. This was down 3% year on year mirroring the fall in property transactions as a result of a slightly cooler housing market in 2018. 

 

Winning the right to an instruction to sell or let a property is critical to an agent's success. Our premium packages, Enhanced and Optimiser, help our customers to generate more opportunities to win instructions cost effectively. The packages include branding and property promotion solutions to boost agents' performance in the 'awareness' stage of the marketing funnel, while our popular Local Valuation Alert and Rightmove Discover products fast-track agents to the 'consideration' stage. Local Valuation Alert and Rightmove Discover delivered over 200,000 leads from people asking for a valuation on their home in 2018. Together the products lead to our Optimiser customers, on average, having over twice the share of voice on Rightmove than an average customer and, combined with agents' skill at converting the opportunities into business, helps them list on average twice as many properties.   

 

Our customers continue to focus on getting the maximum return from their marketing investment to drive their brand exposure and gain market share. This creates significant headroom for Rightmove to grow product revenue as we leverage data to increase the penetration of existing products, evolve their value and pricing, and continue to innovate and introduce new digital solutions. In 2018 despite the slightly cooler housing market Average Revenue Per Advertiser (ARPA) passed £1,000 for the first time to reach £1,005, demonstrating the value of the products and services we offer our customers.

 

Our Commercial property advertising business is bringing the efficiency benefits of the Rightmove platform to commercial property transactions. We have a considerably larger audience than any other commercial property marketing proposition with 29 million visits to our specialist commercial property search. This unrivalled commercial property specific audience has created a cost effective marketing platform for our commercial agent and landlord customers, leading to increased customer numbers across all segments.

 

Our Data Services business continues to help the property industry by leveraging our unrivalled repository of property data. In addition to providing our Agency and New Homes customers with invaluable data-driven insights and tools, we use our data and technology to run a market leading automated valuation model for some of the largest lenders and help the surveying industry to drive efficiencies in their businesses. During 2018 the Surveyors Comparable Tool, which helps surveyors make accurate, quick and compliant valuations, assessed and scored over 1.8 billion comparable property records to create over    2.2 million property comparable reports for surveyors. It is the defacto standard used by surveyors in over three quarters of mortgage transactions in England, Scotland and Wales.

 

Despite the continuing uncertainty about the UK's relationship with the EU our Overseas property business continued to grow due to the value we deliver to advertisers. The dream of owning a property abroad continues to be a popular one for many of the British public with the total number of site visits and leads during 2018 remaining broadly consistent with our levels in the last two years.

 

Innovation to create a simpler and more efficient marketplace

We continue to focus on making the property marketplace more efficient, from the renting process to property valuations.

 

Renting a property is a time-consuming process for both tenants and agents. Tenants must collate a raft of documentation and submit it with each tenancy application, which must be processed and verified by agents. The Tenant Fee ban, which comes into force in June 2019 and restricts the ability of agents to charge tenants, places extra focus on this time intensive process. 

The Rightmove Tenant Passport aims to make the process of renting a property simpler, quicker and more efficient for tenants and agents. We began the rollout of the first phase of this Passport solution in Q4 2018. Phase one of the Passport allows tenants to 'pre-qualify' themselves when sending a lead to agents by including their full property requirements and basic household details. We will be releasing further phases of the Passport solution in 2019 which will focus on making it easier and more convenient for agents and renters alike to arrange and manage property viewings and increase the speed and efficiency of the referencing process.

By combining our software's whole of market dataset and our dedicated account management teams, we help customers drive operational efficiencies and inform their business decisions. Our focus is in the areas our customers value most, which in the case of our agents is identifying potential business and winning and retaining that business.

The slightly tougher market conditions in 2018 made it harder for our New Homes developers to grow their sales volumes. In these conditions our market intelligence tools, based on our unique perspective of the UK property market, together with our digital marketing solutions, have become even more valuable to them. New Homes developers are using the analytics to help understand market dynamics and home moving patterns to define efficient marketing strategies for their developments and uncover hitherto hidden markets for their developments.

Whilst our software tools are already recognised as being best in class and widely adopted with 90% of our customers using our tools each month, it is not in our DNA to stand still. In 2018 we continued to enhance our market intelligence software for agents, Rightmove Plus. 

Rightmove Plus, which is included free of charge as part of all Rightmove membership packages, helps customers throughout the property marketing lifecycle. For example, agents tell us that the Best Price Guide, which helps them gather comparable properties to support their suggested property price, saves them up to 45 minutes per market appraisal. The Best Price Guide was used over 10 million times in 2018. 2019 will see us continue to focus on agent efficiencies. In November 2018 we released a beta version of an improved Best Price Guide and early feedback suggests this might save agents a further 15 minutes per market appraisal.

In addition, our Marketing Report shows the interest a property is generating compared to similar properties on the market, to help agents more efficiently communicate the marketing performance of properties to their customers, the property sellers. As an indication of the value agents place on the effectiveness and efficiency saving the Marketing Report brings, it was run on nearly 700,000 different properties for sale in 2018, 50% more properties than in 2017.

Our data continues to provide the basis for a rich seam of innovation.  We launched Rightmove Active Display in 2018, which allows our New Homes customers to target their potential audience on Rightmove based on the home hunter's usage of Rightmove over time, not just their current search criteria. Utilising this data has resulted in our customers' adverts receiving 50% more exposure. Following successful experiments during 2018, we intend to launch the second phase of Active Display in 2019 allowing our customers to micro-target their potential audience on other websites based on their Rightmove search behaviour.

We care about our customers' business success and building strong partnerships is vital to support their ambitions. To that end we are spending more time with customers than ever before and making sure that our recommendations add value to their business.

In 2018 we continued our successful customer seminar programme. Seminars covered topics which relate directly to Rightmove, such as how to create the ultimate listing on Rightmove, and also topics which relate to the wider agency industry such as how to build a world class agency team. We also recognise our role in helping our customers keep up to date with a changing industry, covering subjects as diverse as the General Data Protection Regulation and the upcoming Tenant Fee ban legislation. The seminars are always well attended with over 11,000 agents attending seminars and webinars throughout the year.

In keeping with an online culture these events are hosted on the Rightmove Hub, which is an on demand platform, meaning our customers can benefit from this content irrespective of whether they were able to attend on the day. This easy access to compelling content has seen more than 13,000 agents register on the Hub.

Build great teams with a culture to innovate

Rightmove is people and our people define Rightmove. Rightmove has a culture which is both restless and focussed. Restless, as no Rightmover ever believes we have achieved all we can, and focussed, because everything is guided by doing the right thing for both our customers and consumers.

 

We strive to create one team of Rightmovers with as few barriers as possible to rapid growth and innovation. We believe that this comes from a process-light, highly connected organisation with little constraining hierarchy and bureaucracy. It is about employing the right people, giving them the freedom and authority to innovate and lead, and then guiding them to succeed. Every Rightmover is both individually empowered and accountable. 

 

A diverse Rightmove is important to us, we recognise that a diverse team will provide a wide range of perspectives that promote innovation and business success. Drawing on what is unique about individuals adds value to the way we do business and helps us anticipate and provide what our customers want from us and what home hunters want from the Rightmove platforms.

 

In the design of our offices we have taken care to create a physical environment that encourages open and honest discussion, including social spaces for the teams to enjoy each other's company. Our workplace is free from offices and the usual trappings of hierarchy.

 

We believe in sharing early and often, and reinforce this through events such as town halls, showcases, stand-ups, team away days and company days which share progress, successes and challenges. Everything together creates a unique and driven environment that we believe results in people feeling a sense of belonging and a passion to perform. By striving to make Rightmove a great place to work we can attract and retain the best talent and provide the best service for consumers and customers. 

 

We are proud of our development culture and the role mobility it promotes.  In 2018 alone 12 members of our customer experience team joined our technology teams in a variety of technical roles. Development is not limited to role relevant skills. For example, 2018 saw our first 'Wellness Week' which covered topics such as the impact of good diet and sleep on wellbeing. Rightmove was also an early adopter of the 'Spill' mental health app which gives every employee anonymous access to a qualified counsellor at the touch of a button in the familiar environment of an app or text message.

 

Great talent and passion to perform is not enough to make a great Rightmover; the way in which we behave towards each other, our customers and consumers is vital. We expect the very highest standards of ethical behaviour from all employees. How we go about our work is central to our recruitment, feedback and personal development processes. 

 

The actions and behaviours of our people create the sense of belonging and connection and allow the business to continue to thrive and attract great people. In our 2018 'Have Your Say' people survey, 91% (2017: 90%) of Rightmovers responded that they think 'Rightmove is a great place to work'. 

 

Our vibrant culture sets us apart from many organisations and is defined by every one of the 500 people who are proud to call themselves Rightmovers. I would like to thank them all for creating a culture which continues to drive our business success.

 

 

 

Peter Brooks-Johnson

Chief Executive Officer

 

1 March 2019

 

 

(1)  Source: comScore, December 2018.

(2)  Before share-based payments charge of £4.3m (2017: £4.9m) and NI charge of £0.4m (2017: £1.2m) on share-based incentives.

 

 

 

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Business model

What we do

Rightmove is the UK's number one property portal and the UK's largest property marketplace. We bring the UK's largest and most engaged property audience and the largest inventory of properties together in one place. We benefit from strong network effects as our property audience and the properties our customers advertise create a 'virtuous circle' enhancing the Rightmove value proposition.

Our customers are primarily estate agents, letting agents and new homes developers advertising properties for sale and to rent in the UK.

The Rightmove network effect

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

Our aim is to create a more efficient housing marketplace and make home moving easier

The UK housing market, both in sales and rentals, is complex and often inefficient. Moving home can be a stressful and time consuming experience for consumers and an inefficient and frustrating process for professionals, often with elements of wasted effort and unavoidable manual processes. We believe by creating a simpler and more efficient marketplace we can make home moving in the UK easier. A better marketplace which empowers consumers and property professionals alike creates a better housing market. By creating value for, and building long-term partnerships with, both consumers and property professionals we are able to grow our revenue. Our continued growth allows us to innovate to create more value for all.

How we make the market more efficient for consumers

Rightmove is free to consumers, and it is the only place where home buyers and renters can see almost the entire UK property market in one place. The ease of accessing almost the entire UK property market through fast, always available digital platforms means Rightmove has become the place consumers turn to first when they think about moving home.

 Finding your next home can be a stressful experience, home buyers will often say "it's got to be perfect" and renters will say "it's got to be worth it". The simplicity Rightmove brings can reduce the stress. The carefully designed website avoids distractions in pursuit of simplicity, putting home hunters in control of their search and research. 

Rightmove keeps investing to deliver the most engaging experience for home movers and our culture of restlessness continues to drive improvement and innovation. The hundreds of updates to our platforms released each month include recent improvements and innovations such as: 'Keyword Sort', which allows home hunters to prioritise those properties which meet their diverse needs from the over one million UK homes for sale or rent listed on Rightmove and a raft of technical changes which have further reduced the response time of the property search.

 

Rightmove takes some of the effort out of the home search by proactively bringing suitable properties to home hunters, and in 2018 we sent more than three quarters of a billion instant alerts (an increase of 30% compared to 2017) to over two million people. Knowing the moment when a new property comes to market allows a home hunter to stay abreast of the market wherever they are. Combined with our near whole of market view, consumers need not fear missing their dream property when it comes to market.

Beyond finding a buyer or tenant, the tools we provide for researching the market bring simplicity and confidence to sellers and landlords as they consider one of the largest transactions of their lives and choose an agent to help them on their home moving journey.

How we make the market more efficient for industry professionals

By creating the UK's largest property marketplace we have brought together virtually all the audience our customers want to attract.  We are able to offer the most significant and effective exposure for their brands and properties resulting in the largest source of high quality leads, thereby significantly increasing our customers' marketing efficiency.

Our digital solutions help our customers reach their audience faster and more efficiently. Winning new business is key, but time consuming for our Agent customers; those customers who buy our highest value Optimiser package, on average win twice as many instructions as those who don't use our solutions.

Our solutions for New Homes developers help them reach almost every serious home buyer in the UK and also help them target these buyers both on and off Rightmove. Based on our deep knowledge of search habits we introduced 'Active Display' in 2018 to allow developers to re-target interested home hunters within the Rightmove environment. Active Display has increased the exposure of the properties our New Homes customers are looking to promote by 50%.

We also help drive efficiencies within our Agent customers' businesses by providing best in class software that delivers data, market insight and analytical tools to help them inform their decisions, with 90% of our Agent customers now using our software each month.

Rightmove's culture of restless innovation helps create more efficiency opportunities for our customers.  For example, in 2018 our lead reporting tools were upgraded to make them faster and also help agents better identify those leads which might contain new business opportunities from the 42 million leads we sent in the year. As a result of the upgrades more than twice as many customers used the lead reports in 2018 saving them valuable time.

How we create value for our shareholders

Our principal sources of revenue are the monthly subscription fees paid by customers to advertise all of their properties and the fees paid for our additional advertising solutions. Our additional advertising solutions increase a customer's share of voice and competitiveness. These are critical factors for our customers and particularly for an agent to help to win the instruction opportunity to sell or rent a home, which remains the lifeblood of their business.

 

In 2018 our ARPA was again driven by the value our customers see in our platform and our higher value packages and products together with membership fee price increases. In 2018 ARPA exceeded the £1,000 per month milestone for the first time.

 

As the property industry becomes more digital, Rightmove's market leading audience, best in class software and data driven analytics are becoming even more valuable to customers. ARPA growth will continue to be driven by increased product penetration, pricing and innovation and is underpinned by the value of our unrivalled audience and data, our substantial product inventory and our culture and track record of innovation.

We also continue to develop a number of smaller adjacent businesses such as advertising overseas and commercial properties and providing property-related data and valuation services.

 

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Operational key performance indicators

We use the metrics set out below to track our operational performance.

 

Number of advertisers
 

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

Definition
The total number of paid for UK estate and lettings Agency branches/branch equivalents and New Home developer sites advertising properties on Rightmove

 

 

 

2018 performance

 

+0%

 

 

 

Strategic link
The place consumers turn to first and engage with most; and innovation to create a simpler and more efficient marketplace

 

Risks
 1        2           3

 

 

 

Source: Rightmove

 

Average Revenue Per Advertiser (ARPA in £ per month)

 

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

Definition
Revenue from Agency and New Home advertisers in a given month divided by the total number of advertisers during the month, measured as a monthly average over the year

 


2018 performance

 

+9%

 

 

 

Strategic link
Unrivalled exposure, leads and products for our customers
 

Risks
 1        2         3

 

 

 

Source: Rightmove

 

Traffic (time on site measured in billions of minutes)

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

Definition
Total time measured in billions
of minutes spent on Rightmove platforms during the year

 

2018 performance

+5% year on year

 

Strategic link
The place consumers turn to first and engage with most
 

Risks
 2         3          4

 

 

 

Source: Google Analytics

Employee engagement

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

Definition

Based on the number of employee respondents selecting 'Yes' as a response to the question 'Rightmove is a great place to work' in the annual employee survey

 

2018 performance

+1% points

 

Strategic link
Build great teams with a culture to innovate

 

Risks

 5

 

 

Source: Rightmove

 

Risks relevant to our KPIs (read more on pages 22 to 25)

1   Macroeconomic environment
2   Competitive environment

3   New or disruptive technologies and changing consumer behaviours

4   Cyber security and IT systems

5   Securing and retaining the right talent

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Financial key performance indicators

We use the metrics set out below to track our financial performance.

Revenue £m

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

2018 performance

+10%

 

Revenue grew strongly in 2018 up 10% to £267.8m

(2017: £243.3m)


Risks
1     2      3      4    5 

 

Underlying operating profit(1) £m

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

2018 performance

+10%


Underlying operating profit(1) increased by 10% to £203.3m
(2017: £184.4m) with underlying operating margin(1) increasing to 75.9%

(2017: 75.8%). Operating profit increased by 11% to £198.6m (2017: £178.3m) with operating margin increasing to 74.1% (2017: 73.3%)


Risks
1     2      3     4     5 

 

 

 Underlying basic EPS(2)  (pence per ordinary share)

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

2018 performance

+12%


Underlying basic EPS(2) increased by 12% to 18.3p (2017: 16.3p(3)). Basic EPS grew by 13% to 17.8p (2017:15.7p(3))


Risks
1     2      3      4     5 

 

 

Cash returned to shareholders £m

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

2018 performance

+20%


During the year free cash flow was returned to shareholders in the form of share buybacks and dividends with cash returns totalling £168.5m (2017: £140.4m), The strong cash return in percentage terms reflects the fact that we have ended the year with a £5.1m lower net cash balance than at the start of the year


Risks
1      2     3      4     5 

 

 

(1)   Before share-based payments charge of £4.3m (2017: £4.9m) and NI charge of £0.4m (2017: £1.2m) on share-based incentives.

(2)   Before share-based payments charge of £4.3m (2017: £4.9m) and NI charge of £0.4m (2017: £1.2m) on share-based incentives and no related adjustment for tax.

(3)   2017 comparatives have been restated for ease of comparability to reflect the 10:1 share subdivision effective 31 August 2018

 

 

 

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Financial review

During 2018 we have continued to deliver improvements for our customers, consumers and our business which has resulted in a robust financial performance, despite the backdrop of a slightly tougher UK housing market.

 

Revenue
 

 

2018

£m

2017

£m

Change

Agency

201.0

185.2

9%

New Homes

46.2

39.5

17%

Other

20.6

18.6

11%

Total revenue

267.8

243.3

10%

 

                                                           

  2018 2017 Change

Agency branches

17,328

   17,626

(2)%

New Homes developments

3,126

2,801

12%

Total membership at year end

20,454

20,427

0%

 

We have experienced another year of strong revenue growth with overall revenue up 10% at £267.8m. Our Agency business, which is our largest business, was the principal driver of the revenue growth increasing by £15.8m year on year to £201.0m (2017: £185.2m). Revenue growth was driven by a combination of increased spending on advertising products and packages and membership price increases.

 

The number of Agency offices ended down 2.0% compared to the start of the year at 17,328  (2017: 17,626), reflecting slightly tighter trading conditions for our customers in the second half of 2018.

Revenue from our New Homes business grew strongly to £46.2m (2017: £39.5m), an increase of 17% year on year. This was driven by sales of additional advertising products including record digital marketing revenue and encouraging growth in our new Active Display product, underpinned by growth in development numbers, up 12% year on year to 3,126 developments (2017: 2,801).

Other revenue which includes Overseas, Data Services, Commercial and Third Party advertising services increased by £2.0m to £20.6m in 2018, driven principally by growth in our Commercial business which grew by 36% to £5.5m.

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

Underlying operating profit

 

2018

£m

2017

£m

Change

 

Revenue

267.8

243.3

10%

Underlying operating costs

(64.5)

(58.9)

10%

Underlying operating profit

203.3

184.4

10%

Share-based payments

(4.3)

(4.9)

(12)%

NI on share-based incentives

(0.4)

(1.2)

(67)%

Operating profit

198.6

178.3

11%


Underlying operating profit(1) increased by 10% to £203.3m (2017: £184.4m) and underlying operating margin(1) increased to 75.9% (2017: 75.8%). This was due to continued strong revenue growth coupled with a slightly lower percentage increase in underlying operating costs(1).

 

Underlying operating costs(1) increased by £5.6m to £64.5m (2017: £58.9m). Of the increase, £2.4m related to salaries and associated employee costs representing an increase in average headcount to 495 (2017: 479) together with general wage inflation. Technology costs increased by £1.0m year on year due to continued innovation in our platforms and tools including investment in the Rightmove Tenant Passport proposition. The balance of the year on year increase principally related to continued investment in the Rightmove brand through increased media spend, primarily television and outdoor advertising.

 

Underlying operating profit(1) is reported before share-based payments, which are a significant non-cash charge driven by a valuation model, and National Insurance on share-based incentives, which is driven by reference to the Rightmove plc share price and so subject to volatility, rather than operational activity. The directors consider underlying operating profit(1) to be the most appropriate indicator of the performance of the business and year on year trends.

 

Share-based payments and National Insurance (NI)

In accordance with IFRS 2, a non-cash charge of £4.3m (2017: £4.9m) is reflected in the income statement representing the amortisation of the fair value of share-based incentives granted.

 

NI is being accrued, where applicable, at a rate of 13.8% on the potential employee gain on share-based incentives granted. Based on a closing share price of £4.32 at 31 December 2018 in respect of the outstanding share-based incentives granted, together with the realised NI cost on share-based incentives exercised in the year, there was a charge of £0.4m (2017: £1.2m) in the year.

Taxation
The consolidated effective tax rate for the year ended 31 December 2018 was 19.1% (2017: 19.1%) broadly in line with the UK enacted tax rate of 19.0%.

We are committed to being a responsible tax payer acting in a straightforward and open manner in all tax matters. The total tax paid in respect of 2018 was £103.0m (2017: £96.6m). £39.0m (2017: £38.6m) related to corporation tax and employer's NI and apprenticeship levy borne by the Group while the remaining £64.0m (2017: £58.0m) was collected in respect of payroll taxes and VAT. The Company currently has no open tax authority enquiries in respect of any tax and there are no known material tax risks based on the positions adopted. The Company has therefore not recognised any uncertain liabilities in relation to estimates of additional tax which may be pursuant to enquiries.

 

Earnings per share (EPS)

Underlying basic EPS(2) increased by 12% to 18.3p (2017: 16.3p(3)). Basic EPS increased by 13% to 17.8p                     (2017: 15.7p(3)). Underlying basic EPS is considered to be more representative of the operating performance of the business and the year on year trends as share-based payments are a non-cash charge and NI on share-based incentives is subject to volatility based on the Rightmove plc share price. A reconciliation between basic EPS and underlying basic EPS is set out in Note 11. 

 

The growth in EPS was mainly attributable to the increase in profitability in the year together with the benefit of our continued share buyback programme which reduced the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue to 901.3m (2017: 919.3m(3)).

 

Balance sheet

 

Summary consolidated statement of financial position

 

 

2018

£m

2017

£m

Change

£m

Property, plant and equipment

15.2

2.7

12.5

Intangible assets

2.9

3.3

(0.4)

Deferred tax assets

2.8

5.7

                   (2.9)

Trade and other receivables

22.5

35.1

(12.6)

Contract assets

0.4

-

0.4

Cash and money market deposits

19.9

25.0

(5.1)

Trade and other payables

(18.1)

(38.9)

20.8

Contract liabilities

(2.1)

-

(2.1)

Lease liabilities

(13.0)

-

(13.0)

Provisions

                   (1.1)

(1.0)

(0.1)

Income tax payable

(16.8)

(14.7)

(2.1)

Net assets

12.6

17.2

(4.6)

 

Rightmove's balance sheet at 31 December 2018 showed total equity of £12.6m (2017: £17.2m). The year on year reduction of £4.6m reflects the growth in profit and retained earnings in the year, offset by the return of capital to shareholders in the form of share buybacks and dividends during the year in excess of profits, resulting in a lower cash and money market deposits balance of £19.9m (2017: £25.0m).

The early adoption of IFRS 16 Leases has resulted in the recognition of new right of use assets included within property, plant and equipment in relation to leased premises and motor vehicles and a corresponding lease liability reflecting the net present value of future minimum lease payments.

Our deferred tax asset, representing the future tax benefits from share-based incentives, is lower at £2.8m (2017: £5.7m) due to the exercise of share-based incentives during the year outweighing new share-based awards granted.

The adoption of IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers has resulted in some reclassification in the balance sheet as the Group no longer recognises trade receivables and a corresponding deferred income balance (within trade and other payables), for amounts billed in advance for which services have not yet been provided. IFRS 15 classifies this as a contract liability as the Group has not yet delivered the services to its customers, and a contract asset. IFRS 15 requires the offset of contract assets and liabilities within the same contract. There is no overall impact at a net asset level as set out in Note 2 on page 119.

 

Adjusting for the application of IFRS 15 on a like for like basis trade receivables increased by 15.0% which is higher than the growth in revenue reflecting the timing of cash collections over year end. On a like for like basis trade and other payables were broadly in line with 2017.

 

Cash flow

Rightmove continues to see strong cash generation and to return all free cash generated to shareholders. Predictable cash flows reflect the subscription nature of the business coupled with low working capital requirements. Cash generated from operating activities(4) was up 9% to £200.4m (2017: £183.9m) and operating cash conversion was once again in excess of 100%.

Tax payments were slightly lower at £32.8m (2017: £33.2m) reflecting the reduction in the UK enacted tax rate from 19.3% to 19.0%. £0.2m (2017: £0.2m) was paid in relation to bank charges and bank facility fees resulting in net cash from operating activities of £167.4m (2017: £150.5m).

Capital expenditure of £1.7m (2017: £2.2m) includes investment in new servers and computer equipment and the final phase of the refurbishment of our London office.

Proceeds of £0.6m (2017: £0.7m) were received on the exercise of share-based incentives and £0.7m (2017: £0.8m) was applied to purchase shares to fund the Rightmove Share Incentive Plan.

During 2018, £113.5m was spent in the repurchase of our own shares (2017: £90.8m) whilst a further £55.0m (2017: £49.6m) was paid in dividends reflecting the increased final dividend for 2017 and the 0.3p increase in the interim dividend for 2018 to 2.5p. This brings the total cash returned to shareholders in the year to £168.5m              (2017: £140.4m).

The closing Group cash and money market deposit balance at the end of the year was £19.9m  (2017: £25.0m).

Dividends
Consistent with our policy of growing dividends in line with the increase in underlying EPS(2), the directors are recommending a final dividend of 4.0p (2017: 3.6p(3)) per ordinary share, which together with the interim dividend makes a total dividend for the year of 6.5p (2017: 5.8p(3)), an increase of 12%. The final dividend, subject to shareholder approval, will be paid on 31 May 2019 to all shareholders on the register on 3 May 2019.

 

Robyn Perriss

Finance Director

1 March 2019

 

(1)  Before share-based payments charge of £4.3m (2017: £4.9m) and NI charge of £0.4m (2017: £1.2m) on share-based incentives.

(2)  Before share-based payments charge of £4.3m (2017: £4.9m) and NI charge of £0.4m (2017: £1.2m) on share-based incentives and no related adjustment for tax.

(3)  2017 comparatives have been restated for ease of comparability to reflect the 10:1 share subdivision effective
31 August 2018.

(4)  Cash generated from operating activities of £200.4m compared to operating profit as reported in the profit or loss of £198.6m.

 

 

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Risk management

 

Approach to risk management

The Board has overall responsibility for ensuring that risk is effectively managed across the Group. The primary method by which risks are monitored and managed is through the monthly Executive Committee meetings. The subject of risk is included on each monthly agenda and any significant new risks or change in status to existing significant risks is discussed and actions taken as appropriate.

 

The Group operates a cautious approach to risk and its 'risk appetite' is relatively low. The open culture which is embedded throughout Rightmove is such that objective views are made when assessing risks and internal controls, dialogue is encouraged, and decisions are not made until risks have been appropriately considered.

 

On a bi-annual basis, risk is reviewed by operational management across each business area. This review includes a detailed assessment of new and existing identified risks, the likelihood of each risk occurring and the potential impact, together with controls and mitigating procedures in place. This information is combined to form a consolidated risk register which is reported to the Executive Committee for review and challenge, ahead of final review and approval by the Board. The Board reviewed the risk register at both the February 2018 and November 2018 Board meetings, with a particular focus on the principal risks identified and any new or emerging risks.

 

Risk management is reinforced by the Group's continuous process to design and embed strong internal controls across the business as we grow, particularly in relation to other business areas. The Group's internal control framework is aligned to a 'three lines of defence' model. Operational management is the organisation's first line of defence as they are primarily responsible for the direct management of risk and ensuring that appropriate mitigating controls are in place and that they are operating effectively. The second line is formed by the Group's internal compliance and oversight functions such as company secretariat, finance, tax, treasury and legal. The third line includes both internal and external audit reporting to the Audit Committee.

 

The Audit Committee receives and analyses regular reports from management and the outsourced internal audit function on matters relating to risk and control and reviews the timeliness and effectiveness of corrective action taken by management. The Audit Committee on behalf of the Board also considers the findings and recommendations of its external auditor throughout the year in relation to the design and implementation of effective financial controls. Further detail of these activities are included within the Audit Committee report on pages 52 to 61.

 

Risk management framework

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT- Principal risks and uncertainties

 

A description of the principal risks and uncertainties faced by the Group in 2018, together with the potential impact and monitoring and mitigating activities is set out in the table below.

 

We recognise that the Group is exposed to risks wider than those listed, however we have disclosed those that we believe are likely to have the greatest impact on the Group delivering its strategic objectives and those that have been the subject of discussion at recent Board and Audit Committee meetings.

 

 

 

 


Key risk and description

 

 


Impact



 

Changes in the year

 

 

·     Monitoring and mitigation

Change from prior year

1

Macroeconomic environment

The Group derives almost all its revenues from the UK and is therefore dependent

on the macroeconomic conditions surrounding the UK housing market and consumer confidence which impacts on property transaction levels.

 

Specific considerations resulting from the UK's decision to leave the EU have been outlined on page 26.

Substantially fewer housing transactions than the norm may lead to a reduction in the number of Agency branches or New Home developments, both of which are major determinant of the Group's revenue.
 

 

 

 

In addition, a contraction in the volume of transactions in the UK housing market could lead to a reduction in advertisers' marketing budgets which could reduce the demand for the Group's property advertising products.


 

Housing transactions in 2018 were down 2% year on year versus 2017 ending the year at 1.2m(1).  

 

Stable overall membership numbers with a 2% fall in Agency branches being offset by a 12% rise in New Homes developments.

 

ARPA was up £83 year on year to £1,005(2),  reflecting continued adoption of advertising products and price rise activities.

·     Monitoring of housing market including leading indicators and trends in Rightmove membership.

·     Continuing to provide the most significant and effective exposure for customers' brands and properties, be the largest source of high quality leads and offer

value-adding products and packages and help drive operational efficiencies for our customers, thereby embedding the value of our membership.

·     maintaining a flexible cost base that can respond to changing conditions.

Small increase in risk

 

2

Competitive environment

The Group operates in a competitive marketplace with attractive margins and low barriers to entry. This may result in increased competition from existing competitors or new entrants targeting the Group's primary revenue markets.

 

Increased competition may impact on Rightmove's ability to grow revenue due to the potential loss of:

·    audience;

·    advertisers; and

·    demand for additional. advertising products.

Market share of the top four property portals has seen a small increase to 76%(3) with Rightmove continuing to have the largest and most engaged audience of any UK property portal. 

 

 

·     Communication of the value of Rightmove membership to advertisers.

·     Continued investment in our account management teams to ensure we stay close to our customers and local markets and help our customers run their businesses more efficiently.

·     Sustained marketing investment in the Rightmove brand.

·     Sustained investment and innovation in serving both home hunters and our customers.

Risk unchanged

3

New or disruptive technologies and changing consumer behaviours

Rightmove operates in a fast-moving online marketplace. Failure to innovate or adopt new technologies or failure to adapt to changing customer business models and evolving consumer behaviour may impact the Group's ability to offer the best products and services to its advertisers and the best consumer experience.

 

 

Failing to innovate may impact on Rightmove's ability to grow revenue due to the potential loss of:

·    audience engagement;

·    advertisers; and

·    demand for additional advertising products.

 

Phase one of the Rightmove Tenant Passport was launched in 2018. This allows tenants to 'pre-qualify' themselves when sending a lead to agents by including their full requirements and a simple affordability check.

·     Continual improvements to our platforms including ongoing investment in mobile and tablet platforms.

·     Developing our product proposition to meet our customers' needs and evolving business models.

·     Large in-house technology team with culture of innovation.

·     Ongoing monitoring of consumer behaviour and annual 'Hackathons' which allow employees to spend time during work hours to develop their own online property related ideas.

·     Regular contact with  the start-up and prop-tech communities to stay abreast of innovations in the marketplace.

Risk unchanged

4

Cyber security and IT systems

The Group has a high dependency on technology and internal IT systems.

 

In today's digital world there are increased risks associated with external cyber attacks which could result in unavailability of our platforms.

 

A security breach such as corruption or loss of key data may disrupt the efficiency and functioning of the Group's day to day operations.

 

Any loss of website availability or theft or misuse of data held within the Group's databases and IT systems could result in:

·      reputational damage to the Group as a result of loss of consumer and customer confidence in the Rightmove brand; and

·      financial loss arising from potential penalties and fines.

 

 

The enactment of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 has significantly increased the maximum potential financial impact of a personal data breach.

 

Over the past year we have taken the opportunity to review processes that involve data collection, storage or processing and updated or amended them to ensure they meet GDPR requirements.

·    Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans in place, subject to regular review and testing.

·    Use of three data centres to load balance and ensure optimal performance and business continuity capability.

·    Regular backups of key data.

·    Regular testing of the security of the IT systems and platforms including penetration testing and distributed denial of service attack procedures.

·    Ongoing investment in security systems.

·    Ongoing monitoring of external threats through updates from external specialists and collaboration with other online organisations.

·    Regular internal security training and 'spearphishing' tests to minimise risk of social engineering attacks.

Risk unchanged

5

Securing and retaining the right talent

Our continued success is dependent on our ability to attract, recruit, retain and motivate our highly skilled workforce.

 

 

 

 

 

The inability to recruit and retain talented people could impact our ability to maintain our financial performance and deliver growth.

 

When key staff leave or retire, there is a risk that knowledge or competitive advantage is lost.

Our latest employee survey showed continued strong levels of employee engagement with 91% of Rightmovers thinking that 'Rightmove is a great place to work'.

·      Ongoing succession planning and development of future leaders.

·      Payment of competitive reward, including a blend of short and long-term incentives for senior. management

·      The ability for all employees to participate in the success of the Group through the SIP and SAYE schemes

·      Regular staff communication and. engagement

·      Maintaining the culture of the Group, which generates significant staff loyalty.

Risk unchanged

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small increase in risk

 

Risk unchanged

 

(1)   Source: HMRC transactions for the UK as published on 22 January 2019.

(2)   Revenue from Agency and New Home advertisers in a given month divided by the total number of advertisers during the month, measured as a monthly average over the year.

(3)   Source: comScore.

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - The EU referendum

The result of the UK's EU referendum in 2016 increased the level of macroeconomic uncertainty and could increase the likelihood of the housing market macroeconomic risks set out on page 22. During 2018 the Board has continued to assess the impact of the EU referendum result in relation to the broader housing market, transaction levels and our customer base and has concluded that there has been no material change to the severity of this risk. In particular, the directors considered the following:

 

·   The Rightmove business is largely subscription based and is therefore less susceptible to short-term shocks or variations in the property market or wider economy;

·   Around two-thirds of our Agency customers also provide lettings services which may mitigate the impact of any downturn in the property market on their business; and

·   A reduction in housing market activity increases the propensity for advertisers to evaluate their marketing spend both offline and on other portals and we remain confident in the strength of the Rightmove value proposition.

 

The directors believe that our strong market position and relationships with our customers, and the value embedded in our membership continue to position us well providing that housing transaction volumes do not take a sharp downward turn.

 

In relation to both our cost base and day to day operational issues we perceive the potential impact on Rightmove of a 'hard Brexit' to be low as:

•     We are a UK domiciled business with very little interaction with EU customers or suppliers;

•     None of our employees will lose the right to stay in the UK; we currently employ 23 EU nationals; and

•   We purchased less than £100,000 in supplies from EU based suppliers in 2018. The impact of further depreciation of Sterling versus the US Dollar in relation to licence costs is also not considered to be material.

 

Our balance sheet philosophy to date has been to maintain a simple debt-free position, which we believe is a strength as we have no debt-refinancing or interest-related Brexit risks.

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Viability statement

 

In accordance with provision C.2.2. of the 2016 UK Corporate Governance Code, the directors have assessed the viability of the Group over a three-year period, taking into account the Group's current position and the potential impact of the principal risks and uncertainties set out on pages 22 to 25. Based upon the robust assessment of the principal risks facing the Group, including those that would threaten its business model, future performance, solvency or liquidity, the directors have a reasonable expectation that the Group and the Company will be able to continue in operation and meet its liabilities as they fall due over the three-year period to 31 December 2021.

 

The directors have determined that a three-year period to 31 December 2021 constitutes an appropriate period over which to provide its viability statement, as the Group operates within the online digital marketplace, and projections looking out further than three years become significantly less meaningful in the context of the fast moving nature of the market. Three years is also the period considered under the Group's current three-year strategic plan. The three-year plan is reviewed by the Board and is developed on a segment by segment basis using a bottom up model. The three-year plan makes certain assumptions about Agency and New Homes customer numbers, ARPA growth and Other revenue streams and considers the Group's profitability, cash flows and dividend cover over the period.

 

The plan is subject to robust downside sensitivity analysis which involves flexing a number of the main assumptions underlying the plan. Where appropriate, analysis is carried out to evaluate the potential financial impact over the period of the Group's principal risks actually occurring. Specific scenarios that have been modelled include downside scenarios in relation to the key drivers of revenue being customer numbers and ARPA together with the impact of a plausible combination of these scenarios. Furthermore, our business model is structured so that the Group is not overly reliant on a concentrated customer base with no single customer constituting more than 2% of Group revenue.

 

Also our significant free cash flow and our ability to adjust our discretionary share buyback programme provides long-term comfort around viability in the face of adverse economic or competitive conditions.

 

Whilst this review does not consider all the risks that the Group may face, the directors consider that this stress-testing based assessment of the Group's prospects is reasonable in the circumstances of the inherent uncertainty involved.

 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - Corporate responsibility

 

As the largest property portal in the UK, Rightmove is committed to its responsibility as a corporate member of society. How we operate our business underpins the contributions we make to our workplace, our marketplace, the environment and wider society. At the heart of everything we do are the Rightmove HOWs, the essential values and behaviours our employees exemplify, which reflect our culture and benefit both the business and the wider communities in which we operate.

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

Making a difference to our employees in the workplace

 

We believe that our people are the key to Rightmove's success and our most valued asset. We have always strived to make Rightmove a great place to work and embedded this into our strategic management objectives.  We are proud of the energy, talent and experience our people bring to the business.  Our open and supportive culture is shaped by the Rightmove HOWs and these values manifest themselves in our fast-paced and highly customer-oriented approach in our commitment to being an exciting, innovative and digital-led company.

 

Recruitment

Recruiting the right people with capability and experience to drive growth is vital to our business plan. The highly competitive market for technology and customer centric skills means that we are strongly focussed on maintaining a happy, collegiate working environment and providing a comprehensive range of benefits to attract and retain the best people. 

 

We also believe that long-term commitment from Rightmove employees is key to our culture and success. For a relatively young company we are proud that 70 people have celebrated ten or more years' service, which represents over 14% of our employees and we believe contributes to our strong people survey results.

 

Referrals from existing employees are a valuable source of new recruits, typically ensuring a higher quality candidate with a better cultural fit. In 2018, 8% of new employees were introduced to Rightmove by an existing employee. 

 

Employees with disabilities

It is our policy that people with disabilities should have full and fair consideration for all vacancies. During the year we continued to demonstrate our commitment to interviewing and employing those people with disabilities who fulfil the minimum criteria for a role and we endeavour to support and retain employees who become disabled during their employment with us.

 

People development and training 

To ensure our colleagues can work to the best of their ability, we continue to invest in extensive training and leadership programmes, designed to equip them with all the necessary skills to provide exceptional service to our customers and consumers. All new employees joining Rightmove are given the best introduction to the business and our customers through attending two 'How Rightmove fits together' courses based at our Milton Keynes and London premises. They also attend an off-site residential induction course to introduce them to Rightmove's culture and values. 

 

We recognise that all our employees are unique and have different needs and learning styles. We offer learning opportunities covering both technical and non-technical skills that are aligned to our collaborative and inclusive culture; including workshops, on the job training, attendance at conferences, coaching and mentoring, online learning and professional qualifications. In 2018, 5% of our employees were promoted into new roles. We are proud of our development culture and the skills mobility it promotes.  In 2018 alone 12 members of our customer experience team joined our technology teams in a variety of technical roles.

 

Employee benefits 

Whilst we believe that being a great place to work helps us attract the best talent we also reward all our employees with a range of competitive benefits.

 

Rightmove contributes towards a group stakeholder pension plan. Opt out rates are low and currently 95% of employees are members of the pension plan. We also offer private healthcare complemented by a cash plan scheme for all our employees' medical needs.

 

It is important that our people can directly benefit from their contribution to the success of Rightmove and we offer two all-employee share plans. Every employee can join the Group's Save As You Earn Scheme (Sharesave), which allows employees to save money from their salary with the option to purchase shares at a discount after three years. In November 2018, the Group's tenth Sharesave contract matured allowing employees to benefit from the Group's success and strong share price growth over the last three years. 67% of our employees currently participate in Sharesave.

 

Awards under the Rightmove Share Incentive Plan were again made to every qualifying employee. This year, 500(1) shares were awarded to each employee in January 2018 and a further award of 475 shares was made in late December. In January 2018 the Group's first SIP free share award became available for employees to sell, subject to tax, allowing them to benefit from the strong share price growth since 2015.

 

We offer flexible working arrangements, fully support part time working and reduced hours to allow our employees to balance their work and family commitments. A flexible holiday scheme was introduced in 2018, allowing employees to buy or sell up to five days (or the part-time equivalent) of holiday each year to suit their personal circumstances. The scheme is popular, with 22% of employees taking advantage of buying or selling holiday in 2018.

 

Engagement

We encourage employee involvement and keep colleagues informed of the Group's activities through town halls, business performance updates with senior management and quarterly sales conferences.

 

We have an employee recognition scheme, based on the Rightmove HOWs which allows us to focus on how we work not just on what we achieve. Every month, we focus on one of the Rightmove HOWs and employees have the opportunity to recognise colleagues demonstrating these behaviours.

 

We conduct bi-annual 'Have your Say' people surveys to gauge what our employees think and how they feel about working for Rightmove.  The survey results are followed up by every manager and we are never complacent about the importance of acting on colleagues' feedback.  We are proud of another set of strong results from the survey with highlights including:

 

·    91% of respondents think Rightmove is a great place to work;

·    95% of respondents enjoy working in their team; and

·    92% of respondents are proud to tell people they work for Rightmove.

 

We believe employee engagement is vital. Harnessing and directing that engagement leads to the Group's performance, therefore it is pleasing to note that 90% of respondents understand how their role contributes to achieving the business plan.

 

An employee engagement score will again form part of the senior management bonus criteria in 2019, demonstrating the importance of employee engagement to the continuing success of Rightmove.

 

Equality and diversity

Rightmove is committed to equality of opportunity in all our employment policies and practices.  Our recruitment and selection processes focus on selecting the best candidate for each role, regardless of their age, gender, sexuality, full or part-time status, disability and marital status.

 

We recognise that a diverse workforce reflects Rightmove's broad consumer base and our many customers. Our people have a wide range of experience, skills and perspectives that we believe promote innovation, constructive challenge and success. Drawing on a wide variety of personal attributes helps us anticipate what our customers expect from their Rightmove membership and what home hunters want from Rightmove, which drives value in the way we do business.

 

The Board continues to focus on succession planning and developing potential within the senior management team. During the year Russell Reynolds conducted a succession and capability review covering high potential employees within our leadership team. The review covered independent capability interviews, internal referencing and psychometric profiling. The intent of the review was not only to provide independent feedback on succession, but to provide an opportunity for personal development to help these employees be 'the best they could be'.

 

(1) Adjusted for the 10:1 share subdivision effective 31 August 2018. 

 

As at 31 December 2018, 36% (2017: 26%) of our leadership team(1), were female. The Board is keen to strengthen female representation in senior roles and has been a contributor to the Hampton-Alexander Review, a Government sponsored initiative which aims to increase female leadership within the FTSE 350. Rightmove has met its Hampton-Alexander Review target of 33% female leadership by 2020 two years ahead of schedule.

 

At 31 December 2018, female representation on the Board was 50%. This combined with our strong female leadership team representation resulted in us being placed second in the 2018

Hampton-Alexander FTSE 100 Women Leaders table.

 

A breakdown by gender of the number of directors and employees as at 31 December 2018 by various classifications as required by the Companies Act 2006, is set out below:

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

(1)   The Hampton-Alexander cohort comprises members of the Executive Committee and their direct reports.

(2)   The Senior Management Team comprises the Hampton-Alexander cohort, excluding the executive directors.

 

Gender pay

Rightmove has published its second gender pay gap report, containing data as at April 2018. Since publishing our first gender pay gap report in 2017, we have taken a number of actions towards closing our pay gap. We have seen an improvement in our gender pay gap closing our mean pay gap by 2.4% and mean bonus pay gap by 6.6% that shows we are making positive progress. We are aware that some of the initiatives we have started will have an impact in the long-term, but not on the 2018 figures. Full details can be found on the Company's website at plc.rightmove.co.uk.

 

We are confident that all Rightmove employees are paid equally for working in the same jobs and we are pleased to report that men and women are almost equally represented in our wider workforce. The main contributor to Rightmove's gender pay gap is the mix in Rightmove communities comprising the highest and lowest quartile salaries. Women are under-represented in the higher paid senior management and technology teams and men are under-represented in the customer experience teams. 

 

Technology is a sector challenged by a lack of gender diversity, but accepting the status quo is not part of the Rightmove culture. We continue to have an equal gender split within our technical team leader positions and we're pleased with the progress of our internal talent pipeline which has seen opportunities for several females to progress from Customer Experience roles to positions in our technology teams.

 

Below is our gender pay gap as at April 2018, together with a description of some of the initiatives that we have implemented to improve our gender balance going forward.

 

Difference between male and female pay

 

 

2018

2017

 

Mean

Median

Mean

Median

Difference in hourly rate of pay(3)

28.2%

36.4%

30.6%

37.0%

Difference in bonus pay(4)

63.8%

45.6%
 

70.4%

36.5%

(3)   Calculated using Rightmove Group Limited pay data from April 2018.

(4)   Calculated using 12 months of Rightmove Group Limited bonus pay data to 5 April 2018.

 

We work hard to create an environment where men and women have the opportunity to build careers throughout the business and believe that our open, collaborative culture is key to that objective. We are committed to a number of actions to balance our teams in a fair and transparent way, including:

 

Balance for all

Addressing imbalance

·     We continue to offer workshops to women before, during and after maternity leave to retain talent. We also offer workshops to men and women to help consider how best to balance work and family life.

·  We are launching a 'Thoughtful Leadership' programme for everyone with a people responsibility, to support our diverse culture and thinking style.

·  To support our commitment to providing a diverse thought culture we are launching a series of 'Mentoring Circles' with external keynote speakers who will provide stimulus for discussion on key subjects.

·   We are participants in the 30% Club cross- company mentoring programme. This supports our internal talent pipeline to bring more talent diversity into senior manager roles. We have 8 females participating from varying career stages. We match this with 8 mentors from our senior management team to mentees from other participating organisations.

·   Our internal talent pipeline provided job role changes and promotion opportunities for 31 people.

·  Our graduate programme in technology has attracted great new talent to join us and contribute to increasing balance in our technology teams. 

·     We continuously review all job specifications and our interview process to ensure universal appeal and fair progression for all to ensure we attract the best talent. 

 

 

Being a trusted marketplace

 

Rightmove is the largest property portal in the UK, advertising over one million properties for sale and to rent on behalf of our customers, who are estate and letting agents, new homes developers, commercial property agents, and overseas agents and property owners, who pay to advertise their properties across our platforms. We carry out vetting checks on all of our customers before we allow them to advertise on Rightmove.

 

Rightmove is committed to ensuring the property adverts we display are accurate and genuine. Our dedicated data quality team monitor the website to ensure that any potential misleading or inaccurate adverts can be investigated and removed if necessary.

 

All of our employees undergo annual training in the areas of fraud, anti-bribery, GDPR and information security to ensure they remain up to date and alert to the signs of unethical practices.

 

We have a dedicated Safety and Security section on our website designed to help consumers stay safe and avoid fraud when searching for their next home.

 

Protecting customers' and consumers' data

Protecting the data of our customers and consumers is incredibly important to Rightmove. We continue to invest heavily in data and security protection and our fraud, data protection and information security teams all work vigilantly to ensure that the data is kept secure and that we remain compliant with legislation. Over the last 18 months, with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations in May 2018, we have reviewed and strengthened our policies and processes in line with the new, more stringent legislation.

 

Anti-bribery and corruption

Rightmove has zero-tolerance to any form of bribery and corruption, both within our business and in any dealings with our customers, suppliers and other third parties we may deal with in the course of our business. We will not conduct business with any service provider, customer or supplier which does not support our anti-bribery objectives. Our Anti-Bribery Policy can be found on our website plc.rightmove.co.uk.

 

Human rights including modern slavery

Rightmove does not have a specific human rights policy, however we do have a framework of policies and statements covering equal opportunities, dignity at work, disability, anti-slavery and anti-bribery that adhere to internationally recognised human rights principles. 

 

Rightmove is absolutely committed to preventing slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains.  We seek to uphold the highest standards of honesty and integrity in all our business dealings and relationships and we have a zero-tolerance approach to the mistreatment of people in our employment and, wherever possible, employed in our supply chain. Our Modern Slavery Statement can be found on our website plc.rightmove.co.uk.
 

Whistleblowing

At Rightmove, we believe that by following clear and transparent business practices and consistently applying high ethical standards in all our business dealings, we can contribute to a fairer and honest marketplace where customers and consumers know that we can be trusted. We operate a whistleblowing facility for employees if they suspect anything inappropriate or experience any serious misconduct or wrong doing in our business.

 

Making a difference to our communities

 

2018 saw the launch of our charitable fundraising initiative 'On The Move'. The initiative has an objective to raise funds, and awareness, for charitable causes by connecting people particularly in our home town of Milton Keynes.  

During the year over 50 employees came together to take part in the Milton Keynes Marathon, raising funds for two charities which are important to many Rightmovers; local charity the Winter Night Shelter in Milton Keynes and national charity Meningitis Now. The team raised over £45,000 in total, with Rightmove donating an additional £26,000 split between the two charities.  

In the spirit of connecting people, the 'On The Move' initiative also aims to evoke a wider sense of community amongst those that take part and their supporter base. In 2019 we will see the campaign broaden its reach outside of the direct Rightmove family, by expanding our fundraising team to invite the local community to partner with us and participate in our charitable efforts. Our aim is to see employees and the local community running and fundraising as one team, all in the name of charitable causes and community spirit.

With the success of the 'On The Move' campaign in year one, we were delighted to continue our ongoing partnership with the Milton Keynes Marathon by becoming their primary sponsor, and the race now officially being known as the Rightmove MK Marathon.  Additionally, Rightmove will host the Rightmove MK Marathon Race Village, a family-friendly entertainment area for spectators and runners alike, which brings our local community together and celebrates the hometown of Rightmove.

We also continue to support our local community in Milton Keynes in a multitude of ways, including sponsoring many of the city's sporting teams.  2018 saw us sponsor Milton Keynes City volleyball and ice hockey teams for the first time, and Milton Keynes College football team for the third consecutive year. Our partnership with Milton Keynes College also included us working with three of their sports science students in the final stages of their qualification with work placements, including offering employees free fitness assessments and exercise sessions. This benefits both our employees by promoting a healthy lifestyle at work, but also gives the students vital data to use in completing their qualifications.  The placement is a two-year course and we will welcome them back in 2019.

Our employees are also able to donate directly from their monthly salary to any charity or recognised cause that is important to them as an individual, through the Charities Trust, which provides a tax efficient means of giving.

 

 

Making a difference to our environment

 

We are conscious of playing our part in tackling climate change and always encourage the efficient use of resources that contribute to environmental damage. 

 

As an internet-based business with most staff employed in two office locations, our direct environmental footprint is small. We continue to encourage our employees to minimise their use of resources and recycle materials wherever possible with dedicated recycling bins provided in both our offices.

 

As an operator of an online property portal, our main environmental impact is from the power usage of our data centres. Our procurement policy is to purchase hardware with the best computational performance which uses the least electrical power.


We encourage our employees to use public transport rather than driving between our two office locations in London and Milton Keynes.  We encourage participation in our Cycle to Work scheme and have many keen cyclists.  We have also introduced the option for staff entitled to a company car to select hybrid electric cars as an alternative to petrol or diesel engines. In 2018, our fuel card provider Allstar, continued to partner with Forest Carbon to capture the CO2 emissions from our fleet of company cars and turn them into new UK woodlands. As an online business, we naturally work in a near paperless environment. However, we recognise that our responsibilities do not stop with how we operate internally and we encourage all our customers, business partners and suppliers to use online records and reduce printing, especially emails. Wherever possible we have replaced paper-based services and communications with online alternatives, including e-communications for shareholders, online customer membership forms, management information, marketing reports and product documentation.

 

By far our biggest environmental contribution continues to be the way Rightmove has changed the way people search for property. Our platforms are designed to optimise the information available to home hunters, giving our customers the ability to advertise high quality photographs, floor plans and property particulars all on screen and available instantly. All these innovations have helped to reduce the carbon footprint generated by prospective home buyers and renters through reliance on printed media and making unnecessary travel journeys to visit unsuitable properties.

 

Greenhouse gas reporting

The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors' Report) Regulations 2013 requires all UK quoted companies to report on their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are classified as either direct or indirect and which are divided between Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions.

 

Direct GHG emissions (Scope 1) are emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by Rightmove, specifically Company cars. Indirect GHG emissions (Scopes 2 & 3) are emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the Group but that occur at sources owned or controlled by other entities. These include our electricity consumption at our Milton Keynes and London offices and our Data Centres.

 

We do not have responsibility for any other material emission sources. We have used the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition), ISO 14064 Part 1 2006 and emission factors from UK Government's Conversion Factors for Company Reporting 2018.

 

The Group is required to report Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions for its reporting year to 31 December 2018. Scope 3 is not mandatory, however the Group has again chosen to report Scope 3 emissions as it relates to electricity used in Data Centres, in which the Group rents space to house and operate various servers, which host our platforms.

 

Emissions have also been calculated using an 'intensity metric', which will enable the Group to monitor how well we are controlling emissions on an annual basis, independent of fluctuations in the levels of their activity. As Rightmove is a 'people' business, the most suitable metric is 'Emissions per Employee', based on the average number of employees during the year. The Group's emissions per employee are shown in the table below.

 

Rightmove emissions by scope

 

 

 

Tonnes CO2e(1)

Scope

Source

2018

2017

Scope 1

Company cars

484

495

Scope 2

Electricity

187

255

Scope 3

Outsourced data centres

206

257

Total 

 

877

1,007

Total  (Scopes 1 & 2 only)

 

671

750

Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions normalised per employee (tCO2e)

 

 

1.8

 

2.0

Scope 1 & 2 emissions normalised per employee(2) (tCO2e)

 

 

1.4

 

1.5

         

 

(1)   UK emissions factors have been used for all data. All emission factors have been selected from the emissions conversion factors published annually: www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors-2018.

(2)   Based on 495 (2017: 479) employees taken as the average number of employees in the Group throughout the year.

 

Our overall emissions are down 12.9% on the previous year with emissions per employee also showing a reduction of 10.0%. This is mainly attributable to:

 

·   lower fuel consumption due to the leasing of Company cars (principally a diesel fleet) with increased fuel efficiency;

·     a reduction in electricity consumption due in part to closing one floor of our London office for a period of three months for refurbishment during 2018, and new meters being installed increasing the accuracy of the readings;

·     a change in the Defra factor used for calculating electricity emissions; and

·     an increase in average headcount.

 

We continue to monitor and look for ways to improve our carbon footprint.

 

Health and safety
At Rightmove, our approach to the effective management of health and safety is to treat it as an integral part of business management. The Group's policy on health and safety is to provide adequate control of the health and safety risks arising from work activities. This is delivered through consultation with, and training of, employees, the provision and maintenance of plant and equipment, safe handling and use of all substances and the prevention of accidents and causes of ill health. During the year, we continued our fire safety, first aid and work place safety training.

 

FTSE4Good Index

Created by the global index provider FTSE Russell, the FTSE4Good Index Series is designed to measure the performance of companies demonstrating strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices. The FTSE4Good indices are used by a wide variety of market participants to create and assess responsible investment funds and other products.

We are pleased to report that having been independently assessed according to the FTSE4Good criteria, FTSE Russell (the trading name of FTSE International Limited and Frank Russell Company) has confirmed that Rightmove has satisfied the requirements to become a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index Series.
 

Non-Financial Information Statement

Rightmove aims to comply with the new Non-Financial Reporting Directive requirements. The table below sets out where relevant information can be found in this Annual Report. 

 

REPORTING REQUIREMENT

POLICIES

RELEVANT INFORMATION

Environmental matters

The Company does not have a specific policy on environmental issues, however, more information on our business impact on the environment can be found in the Corporate Responsibility Report, pages 28 to 37, which also contains the statutory carbon emission data on page 35

Employees

·      Employee Handbook, which includes:

Code of Conduct

Whistleblowing Policy

·      Chief Executive Officer's review, pages 5 to 9

·      Corporate Responsibility Report, pages 28 to 37

Human rights

·      Modern Slavery Statement

·      Data Retention Policy

·      Privacy Policy

·      Corporate Responsibility Report, pages 28 to 37

Social matters

The Company does not have a specific policy on social matters however information on how our business supports the local and wider community can be found in the Corporate Responsibility Report, pages 28 to 37

Anti-bribery and corruption

·  Employee Handbook, which includes:

Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy

Code of Conduct

 

·  Anti-Bribery and Corruption, page 33

 

Business model

·     Business model, pages 10 to 12

Principal risks

·     Strategic Report, pages 1 to 37

·     Principal risks and uncertainties, pages 22 to 25

Non-financial key performance indicators

·     Operational key performance indicators, pages 13 to 14

 

 

 

 

GOVERNANCE - Directors and officers


Scott Forbes
Chairman

 

Nationality

American and British

 

Appointment to the Board

13 July 2005
 

Committee membership

Nomination (Chairman)
 

Current external commitments

Chairman of Cars.com Inc

Chairman of Ascential plc

Non-executive director of Travelport Worldwide Limited

(Retirement pending completion of agreed sale of Travelport to a financial sponsor group)
 

Previous roles and relevant experience

Chairman of Orbitz Worldwide until September 2015 and Director of NetJets Management Ltd, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway until October 2009. Scott has over 40 years' experience in operations, finance and mergers and acquisitions including 15 years at Cendant Corporation which was formerly the largest worldwide provider of residential property services. Scott established Cendant's international headquarters in London in 1999 and led this division as Group Managing Director until he joined Rightmove.

 

Peter Brooks-Johnson
Chief Executive Officer

 

Nationality

British

 

Appointment to the Board

10 January 2011

 

Current external commitments

Non-executive director of MPI- Marketplaces International

(The international online classifieds operation of Schibsted Media Group)


Previous roles and relevant experience

Peter joined Rightmove in 2006 and became Chief Operating Officer in April 2013 having been Managing Director of rightmove.co.uk since 2011 and head of the Agency business since 2008. He was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in May 2017. Prior to joining Rightmove, Peter was a management consultant with Accenture and the Berkeley Partnership.

 

Robyn Perriss
Finance Director

 

Nationality

British and South African

 

Appointment to the Board
30 April 2013


Current external commitments

None

 

Previous roles and relevant experience

Robyn joined Rightmove in 2007 as Financial Controller with responsibility for day to day financial operations and was promoted to the Board as Finance Director in April 2013. She was also Company Secretary from April 2012 to July 2014 and from June to October 2016.  Robyn qualified as a chartered accountant in South Africa with KPMG and worked in both audit and transaction services. Prior to joining Rightmove, Robyn was Group Financial Controller at the online media business, Auto Trader.

 

Peter Williams

Senior Independent Non-Executive Director

 

Nationality

British

 

Appointment to the Board

3 February 2014

 

Committee membership

Remuneration (Chairman), Audit, Nomination

 

Current external commitments

Chairman of DP Eurasia NV
Chairman of boohoo.com plc (retiring on 15 March 2019)
Chairman of U and I plc

 

Previous roles and relevant experience

Peter was previously senior independent director of ASOS plc and Sportech plc, Chairman of Jaeger, held                      non-executive director roles in Cineworld Group plc, the EMI group, Blacks Leisure Group plc, JJB Sports plc, GCap Media plc and Capital Radio Group plc. In his executive career, Peter was Chief Executive at Alpha Group plc and prior to that, Chief Executive of Selfridges plc where he also acted as Chief Financial Officer for over ten years.

 

Rakhi Goss-Custard

Non-Executive Director

 

Nationality

American

 

Appointment to the Board

28 July 2014

 

Committee membership

Remuneration, Nomination

 

Current external commitments

Non-executive director of Kingfisher plc
Non-executive director of Schroders plc

Non-executive director of Intu Properties plc

 

Previous roles and relevant experience

Rakhi was a non-executive director of Be Heard Group plc until August 2018 and a Director of UK Media at Amazon to June 2014. She held various other senior positions during her 11-year tenure at Amazon including Media, Entertainment, General Merchandise and Book divisions as well as Product Development. Prior to Amazon, Rakhi previously advised Zappos and held strategy roles at TomTom and Oliver Wyman.

 

 

 

 

 

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE

Non-Executive Director

 

Nationality

British
 

Appointment to the Board
30 December 2016

 

Committee membership

Audit, Nomination

 

Current external commitments
President of techUK

Non-executive director of Costain Group plc

Non-executive director of AO World plc

 

Previous roles and relevant experience

Jacqueline has been employed throughout her career by global blue-chip software companies and has held senior positions at Citrix, CA Technologies, McAfee and Ascential Software.  She was a non-executive director of Home Retail Group from 2012 to 2016.  Jacqueline is an advisor to the Digital Leaders Technology Group and a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace with a particular focus on getting women and girls into digital careers and studying STEM subjects. She was awarded a CBE for services to international trade in the technology industry in the 2018 New Year's Honours list.

 

Andrew Findlay

Non-Executive Director

 

Nationality

British

 

Appointment to the Board
1 June 2017

 

Committee membership

Audit (Chairman), Nomination

 

Current external commitments
Director of easyJet plc

 

Previous roles and relevant experience

Andrew has been the Chief Financial Officer of easyJet plc since 2015. Before joining easyJet, Andrew was Chief Financial Officer of Halfords plc and prior to that Director of Finance, Tax and Treasury at Marks and Spencer.  He formerly held senior finance roles at the London Stock Exchange and at Cable and Wireless, both in the UK and US. Andrew qualified as a chartered accountant with Coopers & Lybrand.

 

Lorna Tilbian

Non-Executive Director

 

Nationality

British

 

Appointment to the Board

1 February 2018

 

Committee membership

Remuneration, Nomination

 

Current external commitments

Non-executive director of Jupiter UK Growth Investment Trust plc

Non-executive director of Proven VCT plc

Non-executive director of Finsbury Growth & Income Trust PLC

Non-executive director of Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC

Non-executive director M&C Saatchi PLC

 

Previous roles and relevant experience

Lorna was Executive Director and Head of the Media Sector in Corporate Broking & Advisory at Numis Corporation PLC until September 2017. She was a founder of Numis when it launched in 2001 having worked at Sheppards, as a director of SG Warburg and executive director of WestLB Panmure. Lorna sits on the Advisory Panel of Tech City UK's Future Fifty programme and has served as a Cabinet Ambassador (for Creative Britain) for the Department of Culture, Media & Sport. 

 

Sandra Odell

Company Secretary

 

Appointment as officer to the Board

1 November 2016

 

Current external commitments

None

 

Previous roles and relevant experience

Sandra is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. Prior to joining Rightmove, Sandra was Company Secretary of Quintain, the London property developer, and before that held various senior company secretarial positions in listed financial services companies.

 

Diversity on the Board

Rightmove recognises the benefits of having diversity across the Board to ensure variety of thought in relation to the business strategy and effective engagement with key stakeholders. The age, gender and tenure of Board members as at 31 December 2018 is set out below.

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

 

 

  

GOVERNANCE - Corporate governance report

 

Introduction
The following sections explain how the Company applied the main provisions of the UK Corporate Governance Code 2016 (the Code) issued by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), as required by the Listing Rules of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and meets the relevant information provisions of the Disclosure and Transparency Rules of the FCA.

 

The statement of corporate governance covers:

 

·    the structure and role of the Board and its committees;

·    relations with the Company's shareholders and the Annual General Meeting (AGM); and

·    the reports of the Audit Committee and Nomination Committee including Board effectiveness and evaluation.

 

The report of the Remuneration Committee is set out separately in the Directors' Remuneration Report on pages 71 to 104.

 

The Group's risk management and internal control framework and the principal risks and uncertainties are described on pages 21 to 25. The Directors' Report on pages 65 to 68 also contains information required to be included in this statement of corporate governance.

 

 

Statement of compliance

The Code sets out the principles and provisions relating to good governance of UK listed companies and can be found on the FRC's website at frc.org.uk.

 

We are pleased to confirm that, for the year under review, the Company has complied fully with the principles and provisions of the Code.

 

The Board's role

The Board is collectively responsible to shareholders for the overall direction and control of the Group and has the powers and duties set out in the Companies Act 2006 (the Act) and the Company's Articles of Association. The Board delegates certain matters to the Board committees and delegates the day to day operation of the business to the executive directors.

 

The schedule of matters requiring Board approval includes:

 

·    Rightmove's business strategy;

·    the annual business plan;

·    changes to the Group's capital structure;

·    the capital management and dividend policies;

·    the annual and half year results and shareholder communications;

·    major acquisitions and disposals;

·    appointment and removal of officers of the Company; and

·    the system of internal control and risk management.

 

The key responsibilities and actions carried out by the Board during the year are set out below:

Responsibility

Specific actions and information received during the year

Strategy and direction

The Board held an off-site strategy meeting in July. Discussion included potential threats and opportunities to the business model arising from economic, regulatory and other market changes

Strategic initiatives identified at the strategy away day were analysed and discussed at subsequent Board meetings

The Group's 2019 budget and three-year business plan was approved

 

Presentations were received in relation to innovation in the rental market including updates on the Rightmove Tenant Passport launched during the year and discussions around future opportunities for making renting easier

Performance monitoring

The Board receives a monthly management report covering all financial and operational KPIs

Regular market updates and reports were received on the competitive landscape including new business models and innovation

 

The Board regularly reviewed updates on business performance in relation to analyst consensus forecasts and the business plan

 

Senior management gave detailed presentations on high level Agency, Tenant Services, New Homes, Commercial and Overseas business performance  and progress against other business initiatives

 

Shareholder engagement

The Chairman met with Rightmove's investors to explain the actions taken in light of the 2018 AGM voting results, with a particular focus on Board succession planning

The Remuneration Committee engaged with investors in relation to the 2019 remuneration proposals

Investor feedback was received via the executive directors throughout the year, particularly following the results and investor roadshows

Monthly reports are received on the shareholder demographic and analysis of significant changes to the share register; Rightmove's Corporate Broker, UBS updated the Board on the key market drivers of the Group's valuation

Governance and risk

The Board conducts a bi-annual review of the entire risk register, including principal risks, with particular focus on new and emerging risks affecting the business

The Board received a detailed presentation on management's view of possible Brexit implications for Rightmove's business, employees and cost base

Reports were received from the Audit Committee on Rightmove Assurance reviews, with continued focus on Fraud and Cyber risk reviews with recommendations being implemented during the year

 

The Directors participated in a Board Strategy Review and considered actions in relation to Board succession

 

Senior management gave briefings and presentations covering a range of topics including data protection, cyber and information security risks, corporate governance and the 2018 insurance renewal programme

People and values

The Board considered the new Corporate Governance Code requirements around employee engagement and approved various proposals to enhance existing employee engagement

The Board considered the strengths and capability required for senior managers' succession and the skills and experience of its directors in relation to the skills and capabilities identified in the Board Strategy Review, that are necessary to help Rightmove achieve its strategic objectives

The Board received presentations from senior managers throughout the year to ensure exposure to the breadth and depth of talent supporting business growth

 

Group employee satisfaction scores as part of the 'Have your say' survey were monitored across a range of criteria

 


There are usually seven scheduled Board meetings each year including one meeting or away day(s) devoted to consideration of the Group's strategy. Additional meetings can be arranged at short notice at the request of any director, if required. In addition to scheduled Board meetings, there is frequent communication between the directors.

 

Directors receive Board papers well in advance of meetings to allow sufficient time for review and consideration. If any director raises a concern or challenges any aspect of the business conducted at a Board meeting, the Company Secretary will ensure their comments are appropriately recorded in the Board minutes. In addition to formal Board papers, directors receive monthly management and financial reports on the operational and financial performance of the business, setting out actual and forecast financial performance against approved budgets and other key performance indicators. The Board also receives copies of broker reports, research analyst reports and market reviews relating to Rightmove.

 

Board committees

The Board has established three principal committees, the Audit Committee, the Remuneration Committee and the Nomination Committee, to assist it in the execution of its duties. The Chairman of each Committee reports on the respective Committee's activities at the subsequent Board meeting.

 

The Committees' terms of reference are available on the Company's corporate website, plc.rightmove.co.uk or by request from the Company Secretary.

 

Each of the Committees is authorised, at the Company's expense, to obtain legal or other professional advice to assist in carrying out its duties. No person other than a Committee member is entitled to attend the meetings of these Committees, except by invitation of the Chairman of that Committee.

 

Current membership of the Committees is shown on page 50. The composition of these Committees is reviewed regularly, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Nomination Committee.

 

 

 

Committee

Role and terms of reference

Membership required under the terms of reference

Minimum number of meetings per year

Committee report on pages

Audit

Reviews and reports to the Board on:

 

·      Group financial reporting;

·      the system of internal control and risk management;

·      independence and effectiveness of the external audit process; and

·      the internal audit plan, results and effectiveness of Rightmove Assurance

 

Recommends the appointment of the external auditors to the Board for approval by shareholders

At least three members who should be independent non-executive directors

Three

52 to 61

Remuneration

Makes recommendations to the Board on:

·      the Remuneration Policy and strategy for executive directors and senior management;

·      long-term performance  arrangements;

·      the design and determination of targets under any performance-related pay scheme; and

·      any major changes in employee benefit structures

 

with the objective of ensuring that directors and employees are incentivised and fairly rewarded for their individual contributions to the Group's overall performance. Careful consideration is given to investors' views and alignment of executive directors' remuneration with all employees

At least three members who should be independent non-executive directors

Two

71 to 72 and 88 to 104

Nomination

Undertakes an annual review of organisation and succession planning and ensures that the membership and composition of the Board, including the balance of skills, remains appropriate

 

Makes recommendations for the membership of the Board, Audit and Remuneration Committees

At least three members, the majority of whom should be independent non-executive directors

Two

62 to 64

 

Board composition

The Board at the date of this report comprises two executive directors and six non-executive directors, including the Chairman. The two executive directors are Peter Brooks-Johnson (Chief Executive Officer) and Robyn Perriss (Finance Director) and the non-executive directors are Scott Forbes (Chairman), Peter Williams (Senior Independent Director), Rakhi Goss-Custard, Jacqueline de Rojas, Andrew Findlay and Lorna Tilbian.

 

The Articles of Association of the Company require directors to submit themselves for re-appointment where they have been a director at each of the preceding two AGMs and were not appointed or  re-appointed by the Company at, or since, either such meeting. Following the provisions of the Code, all directors who have served during the year and remain a director as at 31 December 2018 will retire and offer themselves for re-election at the next AGM.

 

The Board is satisfied that the directors retiring and standing for re-election are qualified for re-appointment by virtue of their skills, experience and contribution to the Board. The executive directors have service contracts with the Company which can be terminated on 12 months' notice. The appointments of the non-executive directors can be terminated on three months' notice.

 

The interests of the directors in the share capital of the Company as at the date of this report, the directors' total remuneration for the year and details of their service contracts and Letters of Appointment are set out in the Directors' Remuneration Report on pages 71 to 104. At the date of this report, the executive directors were deemed to have a non-beneficial interest in 2,248,020 ordinary shares of 0.1 pence each held by The Rightmove Employees' Share Trust (EBT).

 

Biographical details of all directors at the date of this report appear on pages 38 to 41 and details of Committee membership appear on page 50.

 

The Board's size and composition is kept under regular review by the Nomination Committee.

 

Board changes

Ashley Martin retired from the Board on 4 May 2018, having served nine years as a non-executive director and latterly as Audit Committee Chairman.  Peter Williams (Remuneration Committee Chairman) will retire from the Board and not stand for re-election at the AGM on 10 May 2019.  More information on proposed Board changes and the work of the Nomination Committee can be found on pages 62 to 64.

                                                                                                        

Division of responsibilities

The posts of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer are separate and there are clear written guidelines to support their division of responsibilities. The key responsibilities of the Board members are summarised below:

 

Chairman

Responsible for the leadership and governance of the Board, including:

·      ensuring its effectiveness by creating and managing constructive relationships between the executive and non-executive directors;

·      ensuring there is ongoing and effective communication between the Board and its key stakeholders; and

·      with the assistance of the Company Secretary, planning the Board's agenda and ensuring that adequate time is available for discussion and effective decision making, and that directors receive sufficient, relevant, timely and clear information.

 

Chief Executive Officer

Responsible for the day to day management of the Group, including:

·      the operational and financial performance of the Group;

·      developing the Group's objectives and strategy and following Board approval, the successful execution of strategy;

·      effective and ongoing communication with stakeholders; and

·      chairing the Executive Committee.

 

 

 

Non-executive directors

The role of the non-executive directors is to:

·      constructively challenge the executive directors; and

·      monitor the delivery of the strategy within the risk and control framework set by the Board.

 

The non-executive directors bring wide and varied commercial experience and independent judgment to the Board and the Committees' deliberations.

 

The breadth of management, financial and listed company experience of the non-executive directors is described in the biographical details on pages 38 to 41 and demonstrates a range of business expertise that provides the right mix of skills and experience given the size of the Group.

 

Senior Independent Director

The role of the Senior Independent Director is to:

·      act in an advisory capacity to the Chairman;

·      deputise for the Chairman if required;

·      serve as an intermediary for other directors when necessary;

·      be available to shareholders if they have concerns which they have not been able to resolve through the normal channels of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer or other executive directors for which such contact is inappropriate; and

·      conduct an annual review of the performance of the Chairman and, in the event it should be necessary, convening a meeting of the non-executive directors.

 

Company Secretary

The Company Secretary:

·      advises the Board on corporate governance matters;

·      monitors compliance with appropriate Board procedures;

·      assists the Chairman in ensuring that all the directors have full and timely access to relevant information; and

·      assists the Chairman by organising directors' induction and training programmes.

 

The Company Secretary also acts as Secretary to the Audit, Remuneration and Nomination Committees.

 

The appointment and removal of the Company Secretary is a matter for Board approval.

 

Board diversity and experience

We are committed to a Board comprised of directors from different backgrounds with diverse and relevant experience, perspectives, skills and knowledge. We believe that diversity, including gender diversity, amongst directors contributes towards a high performing and effective Board and business, so we strive to maintain the optimal balance. We endorse both a meritocratic Board appointment process and balanced gender representation on the Board. 

 

At 31 December 2018, 50% of both executive and non-executive Board members were female. We remain committed to recruiting the best people and appropriate talent for the business whilst seeking to maintain as near 50:50 gender balance on the Board as possible.

 

The range of skills and experience the Board considers necessary to deliver Rightmove's business strategy, and which were identified in the recent Board Strategy Review, includes:

 

·      finance and governance

·      voice of the customer and property market

·      technology and innovation

·      voice of the consumer and retail

·      digital marketing and online media, and

·      corporate transactions.

 

Board independence

The Board reviews each non-executive director's independence on an annual basis and considers that all non-executive directors are fully independent of management and independent in character and judgment. The review takes into account such factors as directors' contribution to unbiased and independent debate during meetings to determine whether they are independent in character and judgment and whether there are relationships or circumstances which are likely to affect, or could appear to affect, the director's judgment. The Board approved a new Conflicts of Interest Policy in 2018 and reviews the Register of Directors' Interests at least annually.

 

The Board considered that there is an appropriate balance between executive and non-executive directors. 

 

The 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code (effective from 1 January 2019) has introduced a provision that the Chairman should not remain in post for more than nine years from the date of first appointment to the Board. It also states that to facilitate effective succession planning, the period may be extended for a limited time.  As Scott Forbes has served as Chairman of the Board since 2005, the Board recognises that it will not be compliant with this provision during 2019.  The Nomination Committee is planning for an orderly Board succession plan, following active consultation with shareholders representing a majority of the Company's shares in the second half of 2018. The Board believes that a consensus view has been established in favour of an orderly succession plan for the Board Chairman, including the recruitment and orientation of capable and experienced succession candidates.  The Company remains committed to good governance, but recognises the need for any transition to be smooth to preserve Group knowledge, culture and shareholder confidence.

 

To safeguard their independence, a director is not entitled to vote on any matter in which they may be conflicted or have a personal interest. Where necessary, directors are required to absent themselves from a meeting of the Board while such matters are being discussed. In cases of doubt, the Chairman of the Board is responsible for determining whether a conflict of interest exists.

 

The Chairman is also the Chairman of two other publically listed companies. The executive directors do not hold any other non-executive directorships or commitments requiring disclosure under the Code.

 

Re-election to the Board

Directors are appointed and may be removed in accordance with the Articles of Association of the Company and the provisions of the Act. All directors are subject to election at the first AGM following their appointment and in accordance with the Code, all directors, except Peter Williams, will seek re-election at the 2019 AGM.

 

Board and Committee membership and attendance

The membership of the Committees of the Board and attendance at Board and Committee meetings for the year under review are set out in the table below:
 

 


Board

Remuneration
Committee

 Audit
Committee

Nomination
 Committee

Total meetings

7

5

5

2

Scott Forbes

7

-

-

2

Peter Brooks-Johnson

7

-

-

-

Robyn Perriss

7

-

-

-

Peter Williams

7

5

5

2

Rakhi Goss-Custard

7

5

-

2

Jacqueline de Rojas(1)

7

2

4

2

Andrew Findlay

7

-

5

2

Lorna Tilbian(2)

6

3

-

2

Ashley Martin(3)

1

-

1

-

(1)  Jacqueline de Rojas was a member of the Remuneration Committee until 4 May 2018 when she joined the Audit Committee.

(2)  Lorna Tilbian joined the Board on 1 February 2018, with 4 May 2018 being her first board meeting, and became a member of the Remuneration and Nomination Committees on 4 May 2018.

(3)  Ashley Martin retired from the Board on 4 May 2018.

 

In addition to the above meetings, the Chairman conducts meetings with the non-executive directors without the executive directors being present as required. Peter Williams, the Senior Independent Director, chaired a meeting in December 2018 of the non-executive directors at which the performance of the Chairman was also reviewed, without the presence of the Chairman.

 

Indemnification of directors

The Articles of Association of the Company allow for a qualifying third party indemnity provision for the purposes of S234 of the Act between the Company and its past and present directors and officers, which remains in force at the date of this report. The Group has also arranged directors' and officers' insurance cover in respect of legal action against the directors. Neither our indemnity nor the insurance provides cover in the event that a director is proven to have acted dishonestly or fraudulently.


The Company has a Dealing Code setting out the process and timing for dealing in shares, which is compliant with the Market Abuse Regulation. The Dealing Code applies to all directors, who are persons discharging managerial responsibility, and other insiders.

 

Shareholder relations

The Board is accountable to shareholders for the performance and activities of the Group and welcomes opportunities to engage with shareholders.


Within the terms of the regulatory framework, the directors have conducted regular and open dialogue with shareholders through ongoing meetings with institutional investors and research firms to discuss strategy and operational and financial performance. Contact in the UK is principally with the Chief Executive Officer and the Finance Director. The Chairman and Chief Executive or the Chairman alone, attended meetings with shareholders representing the majority of the Company's shares in the second half of 2018 regarding orderly Board succession plan consultation, corporate governance, business strategy and other business matters. The Senior Independent Director was also available to shareholders if they wished to supplement their communication, or if contact through the normal channels was inappropriate and engaged with investors in his capacity as Remuneration Committee Chairman.

 

The Remuneration Committee proactively engaged with the Company's largest shareholders ahead of setting the Remuneration Policy which was approved at the 2017 AGM and again in late 2018 when setting executive director base salary levels for 2019.

 

The Board is kept informed of the views and opinions of those with an interest in the Company's shares through reports from the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and the Finance Director, as well as reports from the Company's brokers, UBS and Numis.


Shareholders are also kept up to date with the Group's activities through the half year results statement and Annual Report and the investor relations section of its website, at plc.rightmove.co.uk, which provides details of all the directors, the financial calendar, latest news including financial results, investor presentations and Stock Exchange announcements.

 

Annual General Meeting

The AGM provides an opportunity for shareholders to vote on aspects of the Company's business, meet the directors and ask them questions. The AGM will be held on 10 May 2019 at the offices of UBS Limited at 5 Broadgate, London EC2M 2QS.


The Company will arrange for the Annual Report and related papers to be available on the Company's corporate website at plc.rightmove.co.uk or posted to shareholders (where requested) at least 20 working days before the AGM.


The Company continues to comply with the Code with the separation of all resolutions put to shareholders. The Company proactively encourages shareholders to vote at general meetings by providing electronic voting for shareholders who wish to vote online and personalised proxy cards to shareholders electing to receive them, ensuring that all votes are clearly identifiable.  The Company presently takes votes at general meetings on a poll, the results of which are reported after each resolution and published on the Company's website.

 

 

GOVERNANCE- Corporate governance

Audit Committee report

 

Dear shareholder

 

I am pleased to present the 2018 report of the Audit Committee (the Committee). 

 

This report provides an overview of the principal activities of the Committee and details how it has discharged its responsibilities during the year.

 

The Committee is an essential part of Rightmove's governance framework to which the Board has delegated oversight of the accounting, financial reporting and internal control processes, the outsourced internal audit function and the relationship with the external auditors. The key responsibilities are set out on page 46 of the Corporate Governance Report.

 

The Committee has overseen a detailed programme of work in 2018 in relation to its remit, including agreeing the scope of work delivered by the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) outsourced internal audit function, known as Rightmove Assurance. The role of PwC has become well established throughout the organisation and continues to provide insight and value in both core financial control areas and the broader business operations.

 

The Committee continued to focus on the Group's General Data Protection Regulation compliance programme and received regular updates since the introduction of the new regulations in May 2018. The Committee also reviewed the results of PwC's cyber maturity assessment performed in late 2017 and management's planned actions, supplemented by further discussions at Board level, reflecting the focus in this key risk area. The oversight of financial controls continues to be a key area of work for the Committee with all key financial cycles having been reviewed by Rightmove Assurance across the past three years including an 'end to end' billing review in 2018.

 

In November 2018 the Committee received a presentation from management providing an overview of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) principals and regulations in relation to the newly authorised Group entity, Rightmove Rent Services Limited. The presentation also covered Rightmove's approach to risk and compliance within an FCA regulated framework. Rightmove has decided on a co-sourced FCA compliance function, whereby ultimate responsibility for FCA requirements remains within the Group, with assistance from an external provider. This allows Rightmove to build knowledge of FCA requirements and best practice, whilst being supported by external expertise. Following a competitive tender process, Deloitte LLP were appointed as the co-sourced FCA compliance provider.

 

As result of the breadth of the reviews this year, the Committee has had the benefit of exposure to the broader organisation, which has brought added insight to the topics under discussion.

 

Following the publishing of the Financial Reporting Council's (FRC) 2017/2018 Audit Quality Report in June 2018, the Committee received a presentation from KPMG's Head of Audit UK to explain how KPMG as a firm is addressing the FRC's review points. The Committee also requested that KPMG provide regular updates on the progress of their Audit Quality Transformation Programme as well as the internal review processes relating to the Rightmove audit.

 

With effect from 1 January 2018 the Group has adopted IFRS 9 Financial Instruments, IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers and IFRS 16 Leases. The Committee carefully considered the treatment and disclosures in the Annual Report in relation to the new accounting standards with both IFRS 15 and IFRS 16 having a material effect on the Group's Balance Sheet.

 

The Committee as part of its annual governance cycle also reviewed the Group's treasury, anti-bribery and whistleblowing policies and the gifts and hospitality register.

 

Looking forward to the next 12 months, the Committee will continue to focus on key risk areas such as cyber security and IT systems together with FCA compliance reviews for the newly regulated part of the business providing tenant passport services.

 

I have greatly enjoyed my first year as Chairman of the Audit Committee and I will be available at the AGM to answer any questions about the work of the Committee.
 

Written terms of reference that outline the Committee's authority and responsibilities are published on the investor relations section of the Group's website at plc.rightmove.co.uk and are available in hard copy form from the Company Secretary.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Findlay
Chairman of the Audit Committee

 

 

 

 

Committee membership and meetings

All the members of the Audit Committee are independent non-executive directors in accordance with provision C3.1 of the Code. The Board has determined that Andrew Findlay as the Committee Chair has recent and relevant financial experience as required by the Code due to his executive role as Chief Financial Officer of easyJet  plc. Both Andrew Findlay and Peter Williams are qualified accountants.

As a whole, the Committee possesses experience relevant to the business through the digital experience of Andrew Findlay and Peter Williams, and the technology background of Jacqueline de Rojas.

Biographies of the members of the Committee are set out on pages 38 to 41.

The Committee met five times in 2018 and attendance of the members is shown on page 50 of the Corporate Governance Report. In order to maintain effective communication between all relevant parties, the Committee invited the Finance Director and Head of Finance, together with appropriate members of the management team, and the external and internal auditors, to meetings as necessary. The Committee sets aside time periodically to seek the views of the external auditor, in the absence of management. The external auditor has direct access to the Chairman to raise any concerns outside formal Committee meetings. The Committee also meets separately with the internal auditor during the year, and in between meetings the Chairman keeps in touch with the Finance Director and external audit partner as well as other members of the management team.

 

After each meeting, the Chairman reports to the Board on the main issues discussed by the Committee and minutes of the Committee meetings are circulated to the Board once approved.

 

Audit Committee effectiveness

The effectiveness of the operation of the Committee was reviewed in December 2018 as part of the independent Board and Committee evaluation process. The feedback on the Committee was positive and confirmed that the Committee is effective and provides appropriate challenge.

 

Financial reporting

The Committee is responsible for reviewing the appropriateness of the Group's half-year report and annual financial statements. The Committee does this by considering, among other things, the accounting policies and practices adopted by the Group; the correct application of applicable reporting standards and compliance with broader governance requirements; the approach taken by management to the key judgmental areas of reporting and the comments of the external auditor on management's chosen approach.

 

Significant issues

The key significant issue in the context of the 2018 Financial Statements is revenue recognition. The Committee considers this area to be significant taking into account the level of materiality and degree of focus given by management, and discussed the issue in detail to ensure that the approach taken was appropriate.

 

In relation to the Company Financial Statements, the key significant issue is the recoverability of the investment by the Company in Rightmove Group Limited, due to its materiality in the context of the total assets of the Company.

 

Issue

Committee review

Revenue

As more fully described on page 17 and 120 to 121 the majority of the Group's revenue is derived from subscriptions for core listing fees and advertising products on Rightmove's platforms. The Group recognises this revenue over the period of the contract or the point at which advertising products are used.

 

 

Revenue is a prime area of audit focus, particularly the timing of revenue recognition in relation to the billing of subscription fees and additional products.

 

During the year, management performed data analytics procedures on the amounts billed to the two largest customer groups (Agency and New Homes). This included investigating anomalies such as billing gaps and single bills raised and reporting to the Committee in this regard.

 

KPMG further supplement the data analytics work performed by management by using computer assisted audit techniques to match sales ledger postings to cash receipts recorded against trade receivable balances to further evidence the existence of revenue, with the results of this work reported to the Committee.

 

The Committee discussed any anomalies with management and with KPMG in relation to the data analytics work performed. The Committee was satisfied with the explanations provided and conclusions reached.

 

The data analytics work above is supplemented by a detailed analytical review of margin and ARPA together with a comprehensive analysis on the treatment of discounted and free member offers.

 

Investment by Rightmove plc in Rightmove Group Limited (RMGL)

The investment by the Company in RMGL is carried at cost, adjusted for subsequent additions to the investment. Cost was initially assessed as at 28 January 2008 being the date that Rightmove plc became the parent company of RMGL. Share-based payment awards to RMGL employees are accounted for as a deemed capital contribution by Rightmove plc to RMGL of the value of the share-based payment charge for those awards, increasing the value of the investment. Further details are provided in Note 15 to the financial statements. The investment is not considered at risk of material misstatement or subject to significant judgement, however it is considered a significant risk due to its size in relation to the Company balance sheet.
 

The Committee reviewed the assumptions made by management, including the strong track record of profitable growth and cash generation by RMGL. Furthermore the Rightmove plc share price has increased significantly in the 10 year period since 2008, resulting in a current market value in excess of £4 billion, significantly higher than the investment carrying value of £0.5 billion. As RMGL is the main trading entity of Rightmove plc, we therefore see no evidence of impairment. The Committee was satisfied with the assumptions made.

 

The Committee also reviewed and considered the following areas in relation to the 2018 financial statements.

 

Issue

Committee review

Adoption of new accounting standards:

IFRS 9 Financial instruments

IFRS 15 Revenue from contracts with customers

IFRS 16 Leases

The Committee carefully considered the treatment and disclosures in the Annual Report in relation to the new accounting standards with both IFRS 15 and IFRS 16 having a material effect on the Group's Balance Sheet.

 

The Committee also obtained the external auditor's assessment of the implication of the new accounting standards and the related disclosures. The results of this review were that the Committee was satisfied the new accounting standards had been appropriately adopted.

 

Going concern and viability statements

In assessing the validity of the statements detailed on pages 26 to 27 and page 118 , the Committee reviewed the work undertaken by management to assess the Group's resilience to the Principal Risks under various stress test scenarios including consideration of the impact of  a 'hard Brexit'. The Committee gained appropriate assurance that sufficient rigour was built into the process to assess going concern and viability over the designated periods.

 

 

Fair balanced and understandable
One of the key governance requirements is for the Annual Report and the Financial Statements, taken as a whole, to be fair, balanced and understandable and provide the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Group's position and performance, business model and strategy. 

The Committee was provided with an early draft of the Annual Report in order to assess the strategic direction and key messages being communicated. Feedback was provided by the Committee in advance of the February Board meeting, highlighting any areas where the Committee believed further clarity was required. The draft report was then amended to incorporate this feedback prior to being tabled at the Board meeting for final comment and approval.

When forming its opinion, the Committee reflected on the information it had received and its discussions throughout the year. In particular, the Committee considered:

 

Is the report fair?

·     Is the whole story presented and has any sensitive material been omitted that should have been included?

·   Are key messages in the narrative aligned with the KPIs and are they reflected in the financial reporting?

·      Are the KPIs being reported consistently from year to year?

·   Is the reporting on the business areas in the narrative reporting consistent with the financial reporting in the financial statements?

Is the report balanced?

·     Do you get the same messages when reading the front end and back end of the Annual Report independently?

·      Are threats identified and appropriately highlighted?

·  Are the alternative performance measures explained clearly with appropriate prominence?

·   Are the key judgements referred to in the narrative reporting and significant issues reported in this Committee Report consistent with disclosures of key estimation uncertainties and critical judgements set out in the financial statements?

·    How do these judgements compare with the risks that KPMG are planning to include in their Auditor's Report?

 

 

Is the report understandable?

·      Is there a clear and cohesive framework for the Annual Report?

·     Are the important messages highlighted appropriately throughout the Annual Report?

·      Is the Annual Report written in easy to understand language and are the key messages clearly drawn out?

·      Is the Annual Report free of unnecessary clutter?

 

Following its review, the Committee is of the opinion that the 2018 Annual Report, taken as a whole, is fair, balanced and understandable and provides the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Group's position, performance, business model and strategy.

 

External audit

The Committee has primary responsibility for overseeing the relationship with, and performance of, the external auditor, KPMG LLP (KPMG), who is engaged to conduct a statutory audit and express an opinion on the financial statements. KPMG's audit includes the review and testing of the systems of internal financial control and data which are used to produce the information contained in the financial statements.

 

The Committee is responsible for making recommendations to the Board in relation to the appointment of the external auditor. KPMG was reappointed as auditor of the Group at the 2018 AGM. The current external audit engagement partner is Anna Jones, who has held this role since the beginning of 2018. A timeline setting out the tenure of KPMG as auditor is set out below:

 

External Audit tendering timeline

  

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

 

The Committee approves the terms of engagement and fees of the external auditor, ensuring they have appropriate audit plans in place and that an appropriate relationship is maintained between the Group and the external auditor. The Committee approved the audit fees of £151,000 for the year as set out in Note 6 of the financial statements.

 

Independence and non-audit services

The Committee has policies and procedures in place in relation to the provision of non-audit services by the external auditor and the non-audit fee policy was reviewed by the Committee during the year. The non-audit fee policy ensures that the Group benefits in a cost-effective manner from the cumulative knowledge and experience of its auditor whilst also ensuring that the auditor maintains the necessary degree of independence and objectivity.

 

 

 

Non-audit service

Policy

Assurance-related services directly related to the audit. For example the review of the half-year Financial Statements.

 

The half-year review is approved by the Committee as part of the annual Audit Plan. Management is given the authority to incur additional non-audit services of up to £15,000 in any financial year without prior approval of the Committee.

Thereafter all additional fees are to be referred to the Audit Committee in advance, subject to a cap on permitted non-audit fees of 70% of the average audit fees over the three preceding financial years.

Permitted non-audit services

Including but not limited to: accounting advice, work related to mergers, acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures or circulars and corporate governance advice.

 

Prohibited services

In line with the EU Audit Reform, these are services where the auditor's objectivity and independence may be compromised. Prohibited services are detailed in the FRC Revised Ethical Standard 2016 and include tax services, accounting services, internal audit services and valuation services.

 

Prohibited, in accordance with the EU Audit Reform.

 

The level of non-audit fees as a proportion of the audit fee has typically been low at Rightmove. During the year, KPMG charged the Group £28,000 for non-audit services, representing less than 17% of the 2018 audit fee. Of this, £19,000 related to the half year review, and £5,000 to a review of the Group's first payment practices report. Further details of these services can be found in Note 6 to the financial statements.

 

External auditor effectiveness

The Committee considered the quality and effectiveness of the external audit process, in light of the FRC's Practice Aid for Audit Committees (May 2015). The effectiveness of the external audit process is dependent on a number of factors. These include the quality, continuity, experience and training of audit personnel, business understanding, technical knowledge and the degree of rigour applied in the review processes of the work undertaken, communication of key accounting and audit judgements, together with appropriate audit risk identification at the start of the audit cycle.

The Committee reviewed the FRC's Audit Quality Report (AQR) relating to KPMG and discussed the year on year decline in the percentage of audits inspected that met the standard of good/limited improvements (61% in 2017/2018 versus 65% in 2016/2017). The AQR highlighted that in a sample of audits inspected, KPMG had failed to evidence and record its processes in relation to challenge of management on areas of judgement. The Committee asked KPMG to comment on the actions taken by them as a firm since the review.

KPMG acknowledged that it was not satisfied with the scores and is committed to putting it right, having taken a number of actions to drive improvement through its Audit Quality Transformation Programme.  Specifically, KMPG has mandated more standard work papers, expanded its second line of defence reviews, accelerated implementation of existing technology based audit tools, increased central monitoring of audits, together with more mandatory face to face training, tailored by sector. KPMG agreed to provide the Committee with regular updates on the internal review processes in place for the Rightmove audit.

The Committee evaluated the effectiveness of the audit process together with input from management. Areas the Committee considered in this review included the quality of audit planning and execution, engagement with the Committee and management, quality of key audit reports and the capability and experience of the audit team. For the 2018 financial year, the Committee was satisfied that there had been appropriate focus and challenge on the primary areas of audit risk and concluded that the performance of KPMG remained efficient and effective.

 

Internal audit

The Group has an Internal Audit function, known as Rightmove Assurance which is fully outsourced to PwC. The aim of Rightmove Assurance is to provide independent and objective assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of internal control, risk management and governance processes. This includes assurance that underlying financial controls and processes are working effectively, as well as specialist operational and compliance reviews that focus on emerging risks in new and evolving areas of the business. The Rightmove Assurance plan for 2018 was approved by the Audit Committee and covered a broad range of core financial and operational processes and controls, focusing on specific risk areas. Specialist reviews were undertaken in the following areas:

 

·    GDPR readiness in flight review to re-perform an earlier readiness assessment performed in 2017 and to validate completed actions as part of the GDPR programme;

·    Counter fraud review to identify areas of greatest fraud risk or cash leakage to the business; and

·    End to end billing system review to evaluate the design and effectiveness of controls, including review of the new automated billing system developed for the Overseas business.

 

Reports setting out the principal findings of the Rightmove Assurance reviews and agreed management actions were discussed by the Committee. The Committee also reviewed open actions from previous reviews, together with monitoring the progress by management in completing these actions.

 

Effectiveness of the internal audit process

The work of Rightmove Assurance provides a key additional source of assurance and support to management and the Audit Committee on the effectiveness of internal controls as well as providing guidance and recommendations to further enhance the internal control environment, and provide specialist insight into areas of change in the business.

 

During the year, the Audit Committee undertook a review of the effectiveness of the Rightmove Assurance function. The evaluation was led by the Committee Chairman and involved issuing tailored evaluation questionnaires which were completed by Rightmove management, the external auditors, KPMG, the Committee and PwC themselves. The evaluation concluded that the function had an appreciation of the key issues facing the business, was realistic and robust with audit suggestions and added value to the business.

 

Anti - bribery and whistleblowing

The Code includes a provision requiring the Committee to review arrangements by which employees of the Group may in confidence raise concerns about possible improprieties in matters of financial reporting or other matters. The Committee's objective is to ensure that arrangements are in place for the proportionate and independent investigation of such matters and for the appropriate follow up action.

Rightmove is committed to the highest standards of quality, honesty, openness and accountability.  The Group has a whistleblowing process which enables employees of the Group to raise genuine concerns on an entirely confidential basis. The Committee receives reports on the communication of the whistleblowing policy to the business and the use of the service including any whistleblowing incidents and their outcomes.

The Board believes that it is important for the Group and its employees to follow clear and transparent business practices and consistently apply high ethical standards in all business dealings thereby supporting the objectives of the Bribery Act 2010. An Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy and procedures have been established to set out what is expected from employees and other stakeholders who act on behalf of the Group to ensure that they protect themselves as well as the Group's reputation and assets. The Anti-Bribery Policy is communicated to all new joiners as part of the induction process and is communicated annually to all employees at the town halls. Rightmove has a      zero-tolerance approach to bribery and any breach of the Bribery Act is regarded as serious misconduct, potentially justifying immediate dismissal.

All corporate gifts and hospitality offered or received valued at more than £50 are recorded in the Group's gifts and hospitality register. For any gifts or hospitality greater than £100 approval is required prior to accepting and the register is examined by the Committee at least annually.

 

 

Internal controls

The Board has overall responsibility for the Group's system of internal controls and has established a framework of financial and other controls which is periodically reviewed in accordance with the FRC Internal Control: Guidance to Directors publication (formerly known as the Turnball Guidance) for its effectiveness.

 

The Board has taken, and will continue to take, appropriate measures to ensure that the chances of financial irregularities occurring are reduced as far as reasonably possible by improving the quality of information at all levels in the Group, fostering an open environment and ensuring that the financial analysis is rigorously applied. Any system of internal control is designed to manage rather than eliminate the risk of failure to achieve business objectives and can only provide reasonable and not absolute assurance against material misstatement or loss.

 

The Group's management has established the procedures necessary to ensure that there is an ongoing process for identifying, evaluating and managing the principal risks to the Group. These procedures have been in place for the whole of the financial year ended 31 December 2018 and up to the date of the approval of these financial statements and they are reviewed regularly.

 

Rightmove has an internal audit function, known as Rightmove Assurance, which is fully outsourced to PwC. Rightmove Assurance provides the Group with additional independent assurance on the effectiveness of internal controls.

 

The key elements of the system of internal control are:

 

·      Major commercial, strategic, competitive, financial and regulatory risks are formally identified, quantified and assessed, discussed with the Executive Committee, after which they are considered by the Board;
 

·    A comprehensive system of planning, budgeting and monitoring Group results. This includes monthly management reporting and monitoring of performance against both budgets and forecasts with explanations for all significant variances;
 

·      An organisational structure with clearly defined lines of responsibility and delegation of authority, and an embedded culture of openness where business decisions and their associated risks and benefits are discussed and challenged;

 

·      Clearly defined policies for capital expenditure and investment exist, including appropriate authorisation levels, with larger capital projects, acquisitions and disposals requiring Board approval;

 

·      A treasury function which manages cash flow forecasts and cash on deposit and is responsible for monitoring compliance with banking agreements, where appropriate;

 

·      A comprehensive disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan based upon:

·   co-hosting of the Rightmove.co.uk website across three separate locations, which is regularly tested and reviewed;

·     the ability of the business to maintain business critical activities in the event of an incident; 

·     the capability for employees to remote work from home or a third party location in the event of a loss of one of our premises which is regularly tested through planned office closures;

·      regular testing of the security of the IT systems and platforms, regular backups of key data and ongoing threat monitoring to protect against the risk of cyberattack;
 

·    A framework which provides guidelines in meeting the FCA regulatory requirements for our newly authorised subsidiary entity, Rightmove Rent Services Limited;
 

·     A Group Data Protection Framework which provides guidelines in meeting the requirements of the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 2018; and

 

·     Whistleblowing and Anti-Bribery Policies of which all employees are made aware, to enable concerns to be raised either with line management or, if appropriate, confidentially outside the line management.

 

Through the procedures outlined above, the Board, with advice from the Audit Committee, has considered all significant aspects of internal control for the year and up to the date of this Annual Report. No significant failings or weaknesses were identified during this review. However, had there been any such failings or weaknesses, the Board confirms that necessary actions would have been taken to remedy them.

 

 

 

 

GOVERNANCE - Corporate governance report

Nomination Committee report

Dear Shareholder 

 

I am pleased to present the Nomination Committee report for 2018.

 

The role of the Nomination Committee (the Committee) is to keep the structure, size and composition of the Board and Committees under review with the primary objective of matching the skills, knowledge and experience of directors to Rightmove's business strategy and requirements. Our priority is to optimise Board performance, enabling the Group to prosper, compete and manage risk effectively in an evolving market.

 

A copy of the terms of reference of the Committee can be found on the Company's website at plc.rightmove.co.uk. These were reviewed and updated with minor changes during the year.

 

The Committee fulfilled its terms of reference during 2018 by:

 

·     reviewing the Group organisation and succession plans;

·     conducting and discussing the Board Strategy review, including the Board succession plan recommending the appointment of a new non-executive director; and

·     conducting external Board and Committee evaluations. Further details of the Board evaluation can be found on page 64.

 

The Committee continued its focus on orderly Board succession, comparing Rightmove's strategic objectives with the profiles of its existing directors to determine future Board requirements and shape recruitment plans. The Board discussed its proposed succession plan with shareholders, representing a majority of the Company's shares, with a particular focus on addressing the significant minority vote against the re-election of the Chairman and Senior Independent Director at the 2018 AGM. Following the consultation and investor feedback, the Board believes that we have developed a consensus view in support of an orderly succession plan, further details of which are set out on page 63 to 64 of this report.

 

During the year Lorna Tilbian was appointed as a non-executive director on 1 February 2018.  Following the 2018 AGM, Lorna was appointed a member of the Remuneration and Nomination Committees and Andrew Findlay succeeded Ashley Martin as Audit Committee Chairman. 

 

The Board currently consists of eight directors including six non-executive directors, five of which are considered to be independent.  Following the intended retirement of Peter Williams at the 2019 AGM and absent the appointment of a non-executive director prior to then, the Board will comprise seven directors (two executive and five non-executive directors). Korn Ferry International (Korn Ferry) has been appointed and has commenced a search for up to two new non-executive directors during 2019 including individuals with a range of skills and experience to succeed the current Chairman and to complement the potential successor candidates already on the Board. The Board has established a committee to work with Korn Ferry in connection with Board recruitment for potential successors to the Board Chairman.

 

I will be available at the AGM to answer any questions about the work of the Committee.

 

 

 

 

Scott Forbes
Chairman of the Nomination Committee

 

 

Composition and attendance at meetings

The Chairman and non-executive directors are members of the Committee.  Peter Brooks-Johnson, Robyn Perriss and the Head of People & Development attended meetings by invitation.

 

The Committee met twice during the year and attendance at the meetings is shown on page 50.

 

Membership

The Committee is comprised of non-executive directors, whose biographical details can be found on pages 38 to 41. As at 31 December 2018, all the non-executive directors (five out of six members of the Committee) were considered by the Board to be independent. At the request of the Chairman, the Chief Executive Officer is normally invited to attend the meeting to discuss the annual organisation and succession plan.

 

The Chairman of the Company may not chair the Committee for any discussion about the appointment of his successor, when the Senior Independent Director will take the chair.

 

Appointments are for a period of up to three years, extendable by no more than two additional three-year periods, so long as Committee members continue to be independent.

 

Principal activities of the Committee during 2018
During the year the Committee has:
 

·    reviewed the composition and diversity of the Board;

·    reviewed the membership of Board committees;

·    approved the plans for the organisation and succession of the executive directors and senior management;

·    considered the Board Strategy Review and recommendations for candidate profiles for new non-executive directors;

·    considered the implementation of a Board succession plan in light of the shareholder consultation following the AGM vote on directors' re-election;

·    agreed the process for an external Board evaluation and considered actions arising;

·    considered potential conflicts of interest and directors' proposed appointments to other boards; and

·    conducted an annual review of its terms of reference. 

 

Board induction and training

All new non-executive directors joining the Board undertake a tailored induction including meetings with key members of the management team. Directors proactively arrange periodic meetings with executive directors and senior management in Rightmove's offices outside of Board meeting dates and are invited to attend customer events and briefings. New directors receive a comprehensive induction pack of corporate information and a briefing from the Company Secretary covering corporate governance, Group policies and relevant regulations.

 

Individual Board members have access to training and can seek advice from independent professional advisers, at the Group's expense, where specific expertise or training is required in furtherance of their duties. The Board receives technical briefings and training on critical and new areas, such as cyber security and the FCA regulation of Rightmove's tenant passport business.
 

Board succession and independence

Informed by previous Board Strategy Reviews, the Committee has always taken a long-term view of Board succession, carefully considering whether non-executive director skills, experience and interest make them potential candidates for the role of Chairman and Senior Independent Director, in order to provide for orderly Board succession.

 

The Board had determined that all directors had sufficient capacity to meet their commitments to Rightmove, including during periods when greater involvement may be required of them. Nevertheless, the Board recognised the value of consulting with shareholders to explain its orderly Board succession plan following the AGM in May 2018, when a significant minority of votes were received against the re-election of our Chairman, Scott Forbes and Peter Williams, our Senior Independent Director based on concerns about the number of their Board appointments. Following the consultation, the Chairman and Board believe we have received support from investors for an orderly succession plan for the Senior Independent Director and Chairman as outlined below:

 

·      Peter Williams intends not to stand for re-election at the 2019 AGM to allow for the development and possible recruitment of a successor to the Chairman who has the potential to fill the role for an extensive period of time; Peter has served more than five years as a non-executive director and Remuneration Committee Chairman.

 

·    The Board proposes to elect Jacqueline de Rojas as Senior Independent Director and she will chair the committee that will oversee the process for appointing and/or developing a new Chairman.

 

·    Lorna Tilbian will be elected as Chair of the Remuneration Committee following the retirement of Peter Williams at the 2019 AGM, having served on the Remuneration Committee for over a year.

 

·      Scott Forbes has stated his intention not to stand for re-election at the 2020 AGM, provided that a suitable candidate has been identified and is ready to assume the Board Chair role at that time.

 

·     The Nomination Committee has engaged Korn Ferry to conduct an external search for, and will recommend the appointment of, up to two new non-executive directors with the experience and capabilities matching candidate profiles identified in Rightmove's Board strategy review.  The candidates will include individuals with the skills and experience required for Chair succession to supplement the potential successor candidates already on the Board.

 

In selecting new non-executive directors, the Nomination Committee will give due consideration to the conclusions of the Board Strategy Review (externally facilitated by Korn Ferry in 2018), the current Board composition and the Group's strategic plan.

 

Board effectiveness and evaluation

In 2018, the Board completed an externally facilitated evaluation of its performance, including performance of its Committees. Independent Audit was appointed to conduct the evaluation using their online self-assessment service, Thinking Board, which all directors and the Company Secretary were invited to complete.

 

The Board received Independent Audit's comprehensive report, which was discussed at the Board meeting in February 2019. The report concluded that the Board and its Committees were operating effectively with an open and supportive Board dynamic focussed on Group strategic priorities resulting in effective challenge and collaboration between non-executive and executive directors.

 

The Board agreed initiatives to further improve Board effectiveness which include refreshing the Board programme with input from non-executive directors, reprioritising Board agenda items and optimising the format and delivery of Board presentations by the senior management team.

 

An internally facilitated review of the performance of the Board and its Committees will be conducted in 2019.

 

 

 

GOVERNANCE - Directors' report

The directors submit their report together with the audited financial statements for the Company (Number: 06426485) and its subsidiary companies (the Group) for the year ended 31 December 2018.

 

The Directors' Report comprises these pages, the sections of the Annual Report referred to under the Corporate Governance statement and other information below which are incorporated into the Directors' Report by reference. The Board has included certain disclosures in the Strategic Report in accordance with section 414C(11) of the Companies Act 2006 (the Act).

 

Strategic Report

The Strategic Report can be found on pages 1 to 37. The Act requires this Annual Report to present a fair, balanced and understandable view of Rightmove's business during the year ended 31 December 2018 and of the position of the Group at the end of the financial period, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties facing the business.

 

For the purposes of compliance with DTR 4.1 the required content of the management report can be found in the Strategic Report and this Directors' Report, including the sections of the Annual Report incorporated by reference.

 

Corporate governance statement

The Disclosure and Transparency Rules (DTR) require certain information to be included in a corporate governance statement in the Directors' Report. Information that fulfils these requirements can be found in the corporate governance report on pages 43 to 51 and is incorporated into the Directors' Report by reference.

 

Directors
The directors of the Company as at the date of this report are Scott Forbes, Peter Williams, Andrew Findlay, Jacqueline de Rojas, Lorna Tilbian, Rakhi Goss-Custard, Peter Brooks-Johnson and Robyn Perriss.  Ashley Martin was a non-executive director until his retirement on 4 May 2018. Biographies of current directors can be found on pages 38 to 41.

 

Share capital

On 31 August 2018 shareholders approved a resolution to subdivide the Company's ordinary shares of 1 pence each (1p shares) into ten ordinary shares of 0.1 pence (0.1p shares) each in the capital of the Company. Following the subdivision, each shareholder held ten 0.1p shares for each 1p share immediately prior to the subdivision.   Each new 0.1p share carries the same rights and entitlements as the 1p shares, as set out in the Company's Articles of Association.

 

The shares in issue, including 14,813,304 0.1p shares held in treasury (2017: 1,892,456 1p shares) at the year-end amounted to 907,684,330 0.1p shares (2017: 93,266,207 1p shares), with a nominal value of £907,684 (2017: £932,662). The holders of ordinary shares are entitled to receive dividends as declared from time to time and are entitled to one vote per share at general meetings of the Company.

 

Results and dividends

The Group reported underlying profit(1) before tax of £203.3m (2017: £184.4m) and the profit before tax for the year of £198.6m (2017: £178.3m). The directors are recommending a final dividend for the year of 4.0 pence per 0.1p share (2017: 36.0 pence per 1p share) amounting to £35,702,000 (2017: £32,758,000), which together with the interim dividend of 2.5 pence per 0.1p share (2017: 22 pence per 1p share), makes a restated total for the year of 6.5 pence per 0.1p share (2017: 58.0 pence per 1p share).


Subject to shareholder approval at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10 May 2019, the final dividend will be paid on 31 May 2019 to shareholders on the register of members at the close of business on 3 May 2019.

 

(1) Before share-based payments and NI on share-based incentives. 

 

 

 

Share buyback

The Company's share buyback programme continued during 2018. Of the 10% authority granted by shareholders at the 2018 AGM, a total of 1,325,040 1p shares and 11,723,700 0.1p shares (2017: 2,224,059 1p shares) were purchased in the year to 31 December 2018, being 2.8% (2017: 2.4%) of the shares in issue (excluding shares held in treasury) at the time the authority was granted. The average price paid per 1p share was £45.46 and per 0.1p share was £4.55 (2017: £40.83 per 1p share) with a total consideration paid (excluding all costs) of £113,528,000 (2017: £90,809,000). Since the introduction of the new parent company in January 2008, a total of 39,964,605 1p shares and 11,723,700 0.1p shares had been purchased, of which 14,813,304 0.1p shares were held in treasury as at 31 December 2018 with the remainder having been cancelled. A resolution seeking to renew this authority will be put to shareholders at the AGM on 10 May 2019.

 

Shares held in trust

As at 31 December 2018, 2,248,020 0.1p shares (2017: 263,767 1p shares) were held by The Rightmove Employees' Share Trust (EBT) for the benefit of Group employees. These shares had a nominal value at 31 December 2018 of £2,248 (2017: £2,638) and a market value of £9,711,000 (2017: £11,870,000). The shares held by the EBT may be used to satisfy share-based incentives for the Group's employee share plans. During the year, 3,579 1p shares and 178,860 0.1p shares (2017: 77,008 1p shares) were transferred to Group employees following the exercise of share-based incentives. Additionally, 157,525 shares were purchased by the EBT for transfer to the Rightmove Share Incentive Plan Trust (SIP). The terms of the EBT provide that dividends payable on the shares held by the EBT are waived.

 

As at 31 December 2018, 810,095 0.1p shares (2017: 67,700 1p shares) were held by the SIP for the benefit of Group employees. These shares had a nominal value at 31 December 2018 of £810 (2017: £677) and a market value of £3,500,000 (2017: £3,047,000). The shares held by the SIP are awarded as free shares to eligible employees each year and are held in trust for a period of three years before an employee is entitled to take ownership of the shares. During the year, 19,500 1p shares and 4,430 0.1p shares (2017: 2,450 1p shares) were released early from the SIP under the SIP rules.

 

Research and development

The Group undertakes research and development activity in order to develop new products and to continually improve the existing property platforms. Further details are disclosed in Note 2 to the financial statements on page 126.

 

Political and charitable donations 

During the year the Group did not make donations to any political party or other political organisation and did not incur any political expenditure within the meanings of sections 362 to 379 of the Act (2017: £nil). Details of the Group's charitable donations are set out in the Corporate Responsibility Report on page 33.

 

Annual General Meeting

The AGM of the Company will be held at the offices of UBS Limited at 5 Broadgate, London, EC2M 2QS on 10 May 2019 at 10am. The Notice of Annual General Meeting will be published in April 2019.

 

The resolutions being proposed at the 2019 AGM are general in nature, including the renewal for a further year of the limited authority of the directors to allot unissued share capital of the Company and to issue shares for cash other than to existing shareholders (in line with the Pre-Emption Group's Statement of Principles). A resolution will also be proposed to renew the directors' authority to purchase a proportion of the Company's own shares.  The Company will again seek shareholder approval to hold general meetings (other than AGMs) at 14 days' notice. Resolutions will be proposed to renew these authorities, which would otherwise expire at the 2019 AGM.

 

Auditor
KPMG LLP has indicated its willingness to continue in office as auditor of the Group. In accordance with section 489 of the Act, separate resolutions for the re-appointment of KPMG LLP as auditor of the Group and for the Audit Committee to determine the auditor's remuneration will be proposed at the 2019 AGM.

  

Audit information

So far as the directors in office at the date of signing of the report are aware, there is no relevant audit information of which the auditor is unaware and each director has taken all reasonable steps to make themselves aware of any relevant audit information and to establish that the auditor is aware of that information.

 

Substantial shareholdings
As at the date of this report, the following beneficial interests in 3% or more of the Company's issued ordinary share capital (excluding shares held in treasury) held on behalf of the organisations shown in the table below, had been notified to the Company pursuant to DTR 5.1. The information provided below was correct as at the date of notification, where indicated this was not in the 2018 financial year. It should be noted that these holdings are likely to have changed since notified to the Company. However, notification of any change is not required until the next applicable threshold is crossed. Share interests declared before the 10:1 share subdivision effective on 31 August 2018 have been restated.
 

Shareholder

Nature of holding

Total voting rights

% of total voting rights(1)

Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management, LLC(3)

Direct

American Depository Receipts

64,794,160

33,429,592

7.26 %

3.75 %

BlackRock Inc

Indirect

Contracts for difference

Stock Lending

50,160,300

5,473,130

16,304,460

5.62 %

0.61 %

1.83 %

Marathon Asset Management LLP(2)


Indirect


59,307,550

 

6.64 %

Baillie Gifford & Co(2)

Indirect

58,736,140

6.58 %

Standard Life Aberdeen Investments

Indirect

45,307,190

5.08 %

Generation Investment Management LLP

Indirect

45,181,680

5.06 %

Axa Investment Managers SA (2)

Indirect

Contracts for difference

44,413,780

376,620

4.98 %

0.04 %

 

(1)  The above percentages are based upon the voting rights share capital (being the shares in issue less shares held in treasury) of 892,556,026 as at 28 February 2019.

(2)  Date of notification preceded the 2018 financial year.

(3)  Date of notification followed the 2018 financial year end.

Articles of association

Any amendment to the Articles may be made in accordance with the provisions of applicable English law concerning companies, specifically the Act (as amended from time to time), by way of special resolution at a general meeting of the shareholders.

Compensation for loss of office

There are no additional agreements between the Company and its directors or employees providing for compensation for loss of office or employment that occurs because of a takeover bid, except that provisions of the Company's share plans may allow options and awards granted to directors and employees to vest on a takeover.

 

 

Other Information

 

Information

Page(s)

Location in Annual Report

Financial instruments and financial risk management

129 to 131 and 148 to 150

Notes 3 and 26, Financial Statements

Appointment, removal and powers of directors

43 and 49

Corporate Governance Report

Future developments of the Group's business

5 to 9

Strategic Report(1)

Employee engagement

30

Strategic Report: Corporate Responsibility Report(1)

Employee share schemes

29 to 30 and

78 to 80

Strategic Report: Corporate Responsibility Report(1) and Directors' Remuneration Report

Health and safety and employee related policies including diversity and disability

29 to 32 and 36

Strategic Report: Corporate Responsibility Report(1)

Movements in share capital

142 to 143

Note 23, Financial Statements

Share-based incentives

144 to 148

Note 25, Financial Statements

Long-term incentive plans

71 to 104

Directors' Remuneration Report

Green House Gas Emissions

35

Strategic Report: Corporate Responsibility Report(1)

Fair, balanced and understandable

56 to 57, 70

Audit Committee report and Directors' statement of responsibilities

Directors' indemnities

50

Corporate Governance Report

1The Board has taken advantage of section 414C(11) of the Act to include disclosures in the Strategic Report on the items indicated above.

 

 

The Directors' Report was approved by the Board on 1 March 2019.

 

Signed on behalf of the Board:

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Brooks-Johnson            
Chief Executive Officer               

 

1 March 2019
 

 

directors' responsibilities statement in respect of the Annual Report and the financial statements 

The directors are responsible for preparing the Annual Report and the Group and parent Company financial statements in accordance with applicable law and regulations. 

Company law requires the directors to prepare Group and parent Company financial statements for each financial year.  Under that law they are required to prepare the Group financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (IFRSs as adopted by the EU) and applicable law and have elected to prepare the parent Company financial statements on the same basis. 

Under company law the directors must not approve the financial statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Group and parent Company and of their profit or loss for that period.  In preparing each of the Group and parent Company financial statements, the directors are required to: 

·      select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently; 

·      make judgements and estimates that are reasonable, relevant and reliable; 

·      state whether they have been prepared in accordance with IFRSs as adopted by the EU; 

·      assess the Group and parent Company's ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern; and 

·      use the going concern basis of accounting unless they either intend to liquidate the Group or the parent Company or to cease operations, or have no realistic alternative but to do so. 

The directors are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records that are sufficient to show and explain the parent Company's transactions and disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the parent Company and enable them to ensure that its financial statements comply with the Companies Act 2006.  They are responsible for such internal control as they determine is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and have general responsibility for taking such steps as are reasonably open to them to safeguard the assets of the Group and to prevent and detect fraud and other irregularities. 

Under applicable law and regulations, the directors are also responsible for preparing a Strategic Report, Directors' Report, Directors' Remuneration Report and Corporate Governance Statement that complies with that law and those regulations. 

The directors are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the corporate and financial information included on the Company's website.  Legislation in the UK governing the preparation and dissemination of financial statements may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions.

Responsibility statement of the directors in respect of the annual financial report

We confirm that to the best of our knowledge: 

·      the financial statements, prepared in accordance with the applicable set of accounting standards, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of the Company and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole; and 

·      the strategic report includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the issuer and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that they face. 

We consider the annual report and accounts, taken as a whole, is fair, balanced and understandable and provides the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Group's position and performance, business model and strategy.

 

Signed on behalf of the Board:

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Brooks-Johnson                Robyn Perriss
Chief Executive Officer                Finance Director  

 

1 March 2019

 

 

 

 

 

GOVERNANCE - Directors' Remuneration Report                                                       

 

Annual statement by the Chairman of the Remuneration Committee                                                                     

 

Dear Shareholder
 

I am pleased to present our Directors' Remuneration Report for Rightmove (the Company) together with its subsidiary companies (the Group) for the year ended 31 December 2018.

 

The report is divided into two sections, the Remuneration Policy Report and the Annual Report on Remuneration, both of which are summarised in 'Remuneration at a glance' on page 73. 
 

Performance and reward

The Committee is confident that the executive directors' remuneration fairly reflects the overall performance of the Group. Rightmove's 2018 results again show healthy growth in revenue and underlying operating profit(1), demonstrating the strength of the Rightmove business model and the effective implementation of the business strategy by our management team.

 

In keeping with the Remuneration Policy, the Committee has reviewed performance against the bonus plan objectives for 2018 and recommended an annual bonus payment of 78%. The bonus achieved reflects the growth in revenue and underlying operating profit(1) of 10%, audience growth that has outstripped Rightmove's closest competitors by over 800%, growth in revenue of 11% from our Other businesses and continued strong employee engagement with 91% of Rightmovers (2) thinking that Rightmove is a great place to work. These performance targets are considered stretching and vital to Rightmove's continued success.  Achievement against each performance target is detailed on page 97 and reflected in the higher bonus payout for 2018, compared with 2017. The Committee considers that the performance conditions set for 2018 were challenging and have supported the business objectives; the threshold for each target has been met or exceeded and the payout is therefore appropriate. 

 

The Group's performance over the last three financial years reflects strong revenue growth and efficient capital management. The 2016 Performance Share Plan (PSP) awards, measuring performance from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2018, are due to vest in March 2019. 67% of the PSP awards will vest as a result of delivering underlying basic EPS(3) growth of 51% versus a maximum target of 55% over the three-year performance period. The Company's TSR growth did not meet the threshold of TSR equal to the FTSE 350 Index over the same period. The Committee tested both performance conditions, which were set at the beginning of the performance period, and believes the overall outturn against the performance conditions is appropriate.  The PSP awards will vest in March 2019.

 

Investor engagement and Remuneration Policy

The current Policy was approved by our shareholders in 2017 and is set out on pages 75 to 81. The Policy is designed to address the significant shortfall in executive directors' base salaries compared with the Committee's assessment of an appropriate salary for each role and the performance of the CEO and Finance Director. Rather than address this shortfall in a single significant increase the Committee implemented a plan, endorsed by investors in 2017, to phase the increase over the three-year period 2017 to 2019.  The plan increases the executive directors' salary by 3% in excess of the average workforce rise each year over the period. All employees, including executive directors, receive the same inflationary pay rise, plus any 'market adjustment' which recognises the size and complexity of each role and the present incumbents' experience and capabilities and so this approach is consistent with that for other members of the workforce.

 

The Committee's key objective is to agree a remuneration framework that rewards and incentivises our management team to deliver Rightmove's longer-term strategy.  Rightmove's culture is based on the belief that 'we're all in it together' and reflected in the alignment of pay rises and benefits available to all employees in recognition of their commitment to the business and strong performance. The Remuneration Policy for executive directors seeks to deliver below market levels of fixed pay with above market levels of variable pay opportunity, subject to the achievement of challenging performance measures linked to the Group's KPIs. Performance-related pay is geared towards long-term sustainable performance, with a high level of annual bonus deferred into shares, long-term incentive awards and suitable share ownership guidelines.

 

In 2018, we consulted with our major shareholders (representing over 60% of the Company's share capital) on the proposed executive base salary increases for 2019 and the three-year vesting period for PSP awards. We received feedback from a number of investors that pay awards should be aligned to all employee rises and that a longer          post-vesting holding period for LTIPs were considered to be the norm. Both Peter Brooks-Johnson and Robyn Perriss have been key members of the senior leadership team for more than ten years and built up significant shareholdings, in excess of the shareholding guidelines of 200% of current salaries.  Since their appointment as directors in 2011 and 2013 respectively, Peter and Robyn have helped deliver consistently strong year on year revenue growth and generated significant returns for investors. The Committee has given careful consideration to investor comments and believes that in the context of the final year of a cohesive Remuneration Policy, the 2019 pay and share awards remain appropriate for the present executive directors.

 

The Committee will review all elements of executive remuneration in 2019, cognisant of recommended best practice in the 2018 Corporate Governance Code and investor policies on executive remuneration. A new Remuneration Policy will be proposed for shareholder approval at the 2020 AGM.  

 

We continue to value the engagement and support of our shareholder base.

 

 

 

 

Peter Williams
Chairman of the Remuneration Committee

 

 

 

 

(1)  Before share-based payments and NI on share-based incentives.

(2)  Based on the number of employee respondents selecting 'Yes' as a response to this question in the annual employee survey.

(3)  Before share-based payments and NI on share-based incentives with no related adjustment for tax. Prior year EPS has been adjusted for the 10:1 share subdivision effective on 31 August 2018. 

 

 

Remuneration at a glance

 

2018 Financial performance

Revenue

+10%

Underlying operating profit (1)

+10%

Returns to shareholders


£168.5m

Long-term incentive plan - outcome against maximum targets: 67%

Underlying basic EPS(2)

Total Shareholder Return

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdfSource: Rightmove

67% out of a maximum of 75% of 2016 PSP awards vest on achievement of three-year EPS growth of 51%.

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

25% of the 2016 PSP did not vest as relative three-year TSR performance did not meet the threshold of TSR equal to the FTSE 350 index.

Annual bonus plan - outcome against maximum targets: 78%

Underlying operating profit (1)

Growth in absolute time on site in minutes relative to our nearest competitors(4)

Growth in Other revenue(3)

Employee survey respondents who think 'Rightmove is a great place to work'

Threshold target: £194.4m

Actual: £203.3m

Threshold target: the same absolute growth in minutes

Actual: growth in time in minutes year on year over 800% larger than our nearest competitors

Threshold target:

10%

Actual:

11%

Threshold target: 90%


Actual: 91%

 

 

 

Pay and performance for 2018

 

Chief Executive Officer

Finance Director

Salary

£472,268

£339,200

Benefits

£2,192

£1,414

Cash Bonus

£184,185

£132,288

Deferred Share Bonus

£276,277

£198,432

Long-term incentives

£555,256

£439,219

Total remuneration

£1,490,178

£1,110,553

Shareholder alignment

Shareholding guidelines:                             

200% of salary for all executive directors 

Proportion of variable awards received in shares:

85% of performance-related pay is awarded in Rightmove shares

Remuneration Policy key elements

Fixed pay below comparative market median and variable incentive opportunity above median

Base salaries executive directors receive inflationary adjustments to salaries capped at 3% above wider workforce increases

Pension contributions up to 6% of base salary in line with the wider workforce

Annual bonus maximum 125% of salary, with 40% cash and 60% deferred into Company shares for two years

Performance Share Plan awards granted at 200% of salary. No post-vesting holding period for current executive directors

Clawback applies to deferred annual bonus awards and PSP awards

       

 

  

(1)  Before share-based payments and NI on share-based incentives.

(2)  Before share-based payments and NI on share-based incentives with no related adjustment for tax. Prior year EPS has been adjusted for the 10:1 share subdivision effective on 31 August 2018.

(3)  Other revenue is all revenue excluding Agency and New Homes.

(4)  Time in minutes spent on Rightmove platforms, measured by comScore, relative to our nearest competitors.

 

 

Remuneration Policy Report (unaudited)

 

Introduction

This report sets out the Company's Policy on directors' remuneration for the forthcoming year as well as information on remuneration paid to directors for the financial year ended 31 December 2018. The report has been prepared in accordance with the Companies Act 2006, the Large and Medium-sized Companies and Groups (Accounts and Reports) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (together the Act) and the 2016 UK Corporate Governance Code (the Code).

 

This report comprises a Policy Report and an Annual Report on Remuneration. The Remuneration Policy was approved by shareholders at the 2017 AGM. The Annual Report on Remuneration will be subject to an advisory vote at the 2019 AGM and a new Remuneration Policy will be proposed for shareholder approval at the 2020 AGM.

 

The parts of the report which have been audited have been highlighted.

 

Remuneration Policy Report (the Policy Report)

This part of the Directors' Remuneration Report sets out the Remuneration Policy for the Company and has been prepared in accordance with the Act.

 

The Policy was developed in line with Rightmove's approach, that our executive directors should be rewarded with demonstrably lower than market base salaries and benefits and higher than market equity rewards subject to the achievement of challenging performance targets. This approach accords with the views of our major shareholders and with 'best practice' principles set out in the Code.

 

The key principles of the Committee's policy are that executive remuneration should:

 

·    allow the Group to attract and retain talented individuals who are critical to the success of the business;

·    be simple to explain, understand and administer;

·    be regarded as fair by both other employees and shareholders;

·    be below market levels for base salary with minimal benefits (which are made available on the same basis to all Rightmove employees) and above market levels of variable pay potential;

·    provide directors with the opportunity to receive a share in the future growth and development of the Group;

·  align the interests of the executive directors with the interests of shareholders and reflect the dynamic, performance-driven culture of the Group;

·    principally reward individuals for the overall success of the business, measuring and incentivising directors against key short-term and medium to long-term goals;

·    not enable executive directors to gain significantly from short-term successes, which subsequently prove not to be consistent with growing the overall value of the business, through the deferral of 60% of annual bonuses for a further two years after the performance targets have been achieved; and

·    normally be reviewed against the market every three years, with intervening pay reviews for executive directors directly linked to the policies applied to all employees, specifically with regard to cost of living rises in base salary and changes in benefits.

 

The following table provides an overview of the Committee's Remuneration Policy, which has been designed to reflect the principles described above:

 

 

Remuneration Policy

 

Element of remuneration

Purpose and link to strategy

Operation

Maximum opportunity

Performance criteria

Salary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To provide a base salary which will attract and retain high calibre executives to execute the Group's business strategy.

Base salaries are normally reviewed annually. The timing of any change is at the Committee's discretion and will usually be effective from 1 January.
 

When considering the executive's eligibility for a salary increase, the Committee considers the following points:

·   size and responsibilities of the role;

·   individual and Group performance;

·   increases awarded to the wider workforce; and

·   broader economic and inflationary conditions.

 

Executive directors' remuneration is benchmarked against external market data periodically (generally every three years). Relevant market comparators are selected for comparison, which include other companies of a similar size and

complexity. The Committee considers benchmark data, alongside a broad review of the individual's skills and experience, performance and internal relativities.

 

Directors' current salaries are set out on page 89.

 

These salary levels will be eligible for increases during the period that the Remuneration Policy operates from the effective date.

During this time, salaries may be increased each year (in percentage of salary terms) in line with those of the wider workforce and will be capped at the average workforce increase plus 3%, subject to the Committee's consideration of the overall salary budget, individual and Group performance and factors in the wider economy including inflation.

Increases beyond those linked to the workforce (in percentage of salary terms) will only be awarded where there is a change of incumbent, in responsibility, experience or a significant increase in the scale of the role and/or size, value and/or complexity of the Group.

The Committee considers both individual and Group performance in a broad context when determining base salary increases.

Benefits

 

 

 

To provide simple, cost-effective employee benefits which are the same as those offered to the wider workforce.

The executive directors are enrolled in the Group's private medical insurance scheme and receive life assurance cover equal to four times base salary.

Additionally, all executive directors are members of the Group's medical cash plan.

 

Executive directors will be entitled to receive new benefits on the same terms as those introduced for the whole workforce.

 

The value of benefits may vary from year to year depending on the cost to the Company from third party providers.

Not applicable

Pension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pension (continued)

To provide a basic, cost-effective, long-term retirement benefit.

The Group operates a stakeholder pension plan for employees under which the employer contributes 6% of base salary subject to the employee contributing a minimum of 3% of base salary.

 

The Company does not contribute to any personal pension

arrangements.

 

The Company may introduce a cash alternative to a pension contribution where this would be more tax efficient for the individual.

 

Whilst executives are not obliged to join, the Company operates a pension salary exchange arrangement whereby executives can exchange part of their salary for Company paid pension contributions. Where executives exchange salary and this reduces the Company's National Insurance Contributions the Company credits the full saving to the executive's pension.

6% of base salary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not applicable

Annual bonus including Deferred Share Bonus Plan (DSP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annual bonus including Deferred Share Bonus Plan (DSP) (continued)

To incentivise and recognise execution of the business strategy on an annual basis.

 

Rewards the achievement of annual financial and operational objectives.

The annual bonus comprises a cash award (40% of any bonus earned) and a DSP award (60% of any bonus earned).

A greater proportion of the annual bonus may be deferred in future years at the Committee's discretion.

Deferred shares will vest after two years and be potentially forfeitable during that period.

Payments under the annual bonus plan may be subject to clawback in the event of a material misstatement of the Group's financial results or misconduct.

125% of base salary

 

 

 

 

The bonus is determined by and based on performance against a range of key performance indicators which will be selected and weighted to support delivery of the business strategy.

The primary bonus metric will be profit-based (e.g. underlying operating profit) with targets set in relation to a carefully considered business plan and requiring significant out-performance of that plan to trigger maximum payments.

A minority of bonus will also be earned based on pre-set targets drawn from the Group's other key performance indicators relating to underlying drivers of long-term revenue growth.

Details of the performance measures used for the current year and the targets set for the year under review and performance against them is provided on pages 90 and 97.

25% of the awards vest for achieving the threshold performance target. Bonus is earned on a linear basis from threshold to maximum performance levels.

Performance Share Plan (PSP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To incentivise and reward executives for the achievement of superior returns to shareholders over a three-year period, to retain key

 individuals and align interests with shareholders.

 

 

The PSP was established in 2011 and permits annual awards of nil cost options, contingent shares and forfeitable shares which vest after three years subject to continued service and the achievement of challenging performance conditions.

 

The Committee has discretion to introduce a two-year post-vesting holding period for future executive appointments to the Board.

 

A dividend equivalent provision operates enabling dividends to be paid (in cash or shares) on shares at the time of vesting.

PSP awards may be subject to clawback in the event of a material misstatement of the Group's financial results or misconduct.

 

200% of base salary

 

 

Awards vest based on three-year performance against challenging financial targets for EPS and relative TSR performance. 
 

Financial targets will determine vesting in relation to at least half of an award.
 

25% of the awards vest for achieving the threshold performance target. Awards vest on a linear basis from threshold to maximum performance levels.
 

The performance period for financial targets and relative TSR targets is three financial years, starting with the year in which the award is granted.

 

All-employee Sharesave Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Provides all employees with the opportunity to own shares in the Company on similar terms.

 

Executive directors are entitled to participate on the same terms as all other employees in the Group's Sharesave Plan,

which has standard terms.
 

Participation limits are set by HMRC from time to time.

None

Share Incentive Plan (SIP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To provide all employees the opportunity to own shares in the Company on equal terms.

Executive directors are entitled to participate in the SIP on the same terms as all other employees. The SIP has standard terms and currently only free shares are offered. However, executive directors routinely forfeit their entitlement to any free share awards.

 

The Committee may award free shares to employees, subject to the continued strong Group performance.  Share awards will typically be made annually and will be modest in value, historically shares to the value of £2,000 per employee.

Participation in the SIP is based on HMRC rules. Share awards are discretionary and made within the SIP rules.

None

Share ownership guidelines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To provide alignment

between the executive directors

and shareholders.

Executive directors are required to retain at least half of any share awards vesting or exercised (after selling sufficient shares to meet the exercise price and to pay any tax liabilities due) until they have met the shareholding guideline.

The Committee will regularly monitor progress towards the guidelines.

Shareholding guideline: 200% of base salary for all executive directors.

 

Not applicable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-executive directors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-executive directors (continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To provide a competitive fee which will attract and retain high calibre individuals and reflects their relevant skills and experience.

The fees for non-executive directors (including the Company Chairman) are reviewed periodically (generally every three years).

The Committee will consider the Chairman's fee,       whilst the              non-executive directors' fee is considered by the wider Board, excluding the non-executives. 

 

Fee levels for each role are determined after considering the responsibility of the role, the skills and knowledge required and the expected time commitments.

Periodic benchmarking against relevant market comparators, reflecting the size and complexity of the role, is used to provide context when setting fee levels.

 

In exceptional circumstances, where the normal

time commitment has been substantially exceeded, an additional fee may be paid at the Board's discretion.

 

Fees for the Chairman and non-executive directors were reviewed in 2018 and are set out on page 91.

 

Fee increases may take place if fee levels are considered to have become out of line with the responsibilities and time commitments of individual roles.

 

Flexibility is retained to increase the above fee levels in the event that it is necessary to recruit a new Chairman or non-executive director of an appropriate calibre in future years.

 

    None

 

 

 

Business expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

To reimburse directors for reasonable business expenses.

 

Directors may claim reasonable business expenses within the terms of the Group's expenses policy and be reimbursed on the same basis as all employees.  The Group may reimburse business expenses which are in future classified as taxable benefits by HMRC.

 

Expenses vary from year to year according to each director's responsibilities, business activity and location.

Not applicable

 

 

 Discretions maintained by the Committee in operating the incentive plans

The Committee will operate the annual bonus plan, PSP, Sharesave Plan and SIP according to their respective rules and in accordance with the Listing Rules and HMRC rules where relevant.

The Committee retains discretion, consistent with market practice, in a number of regards to the operation and administration of these plans. These discretions include, but are not limited to, the following:

·    the selection of participants in the respective plan;

·    the timing of grant of an award (if any) and payments;

·    the size of an award and/or a payment (with limits as described in the table above);

·    the extent of vesting based on the achievement of performance targets and applicable exercise periods where relevant;

·    how to deal with a change of control (e.g. the timing of testing performance targets) or restructuring of the Group;

·    determination of a 'good'/'bad' leaver for incentive plan purposes based on the rules of each plan and the appropriate treatment chosen including the timing of the delivery of shares;

·    adjustments (if any) required in certain circumstances (e.g. rights issues, corporate restructuring events and special dividends); and

·    the annual review of performance measures, targets and weightings for the annual bonus plan and PSP from year to year.

The Committee also retains the ability to adjust the targets and/or set different measures for the annual bonus plan and PSP if events occur (e.g. a material divestment or acquisition) which cause it to determine that the conditions are no longer appropriate and an amendment is required so that the conditions achieve their original purpose and are not materially less difficult to satisfy.

Any use of the above discretions would, where relevant, be detailed in the Annual Report on Remuneration and if appropriate, the subject of prior communication with the Company's major shareholders.

For the avoidance of doubt, all previous commitments or entitlements agreed prior to the approval of this Policy or appointment to the Board will be permitted to payout on their original terms or in line with the Policy in force at the time they were agreed.

 

Selection of performance measures and how targets are set

The performance metrics used for the annual bonus and long-term incentive plans are derived from the Group's key performance indicators. Each performance measure has a threshold target, with 25% payable, and a stretching maximum target with 100% payable and a sliding scale for intermediate performance.

Underlying operating profit is the primary performance metric for the annual bonus as it is a key financial performance indicator used within the business and aligned to the Group's strategy of delivering profitable growth. Operating profit is measured on an underlying basis for consistency and to exclude any volatility in relation to the Company's share price in connection with the IFRS 2 valuation and National Insurance charge on share-based incentives granted. The underlying operating profit target is based around meeting and exceeding the business plan for the year.

 

The annual bonus is also payable for performance against other operational metrics, including a traffic market share target, growth in Other business revenue and an employee engagement target, for a minority of the bonus, with a sliding scale used to determine performance against each measure.

 

Market share, measured as the time consumers spend on Rightmove compared to our nearest competitors, is a key indicator of the size and engagement of our audience and the value which Rightmove brings to our customers. The Committee therefore considers it important to set a challenging target to increase Rightmove's share of this audience from an already very high starting point.

 

The Other revenue target measures growth in revenue from businesses other than Agency and New Homes. As some of these businesses are still at an early stage of development compared to Rightmove's core Agency and New Homes businesses, growth in revenue rather than in operating profit is considered to be a more appropriate measure; this element of the bonus remains a small proportion of the total bonus opportunity.

 

For the longer term PSP awards, a combination of underlying basic earnings per share (EPS) and relative TSR performance conditions are used as performance measures. EPS is considered the most appropriate financial metric for Rightmove at this stage in its development (since it is the measure of profitability that is most closely aligned with shareholders' interests and monitored on an ongoing basis within the business). The Policy also recognises that relative TSR should also be a performance measure in order for there to be a clear alignment of executive directors' and shareholder interests. EPS targets are set based on sliding scales that take account of internal financial planning and external analyst forecasts. Only 25% of the EPS element will payout for threshold performance levels, with the maximum award requiring substantial out-performance. For TSR, the range of targets measure how successful the Company is in out-performing the FTSE 350 Index with 25% of this part of the award vesting at the threshold performance level, through to full vesting for 25% out-performance of the Index over the three-year performance period. For historic PSP awards, performance against the FTSE 250 Index was the selected measure, however, the Company has resided in the top quartile of the FTSE 250 for some time and is a current FTSE 100 constituent and thus the wider index is now considered more appropriate for comparison purposes.

 

Performance targets do not apply to Sharesave or SIP awards since these awards are structured to encourage employees to become shareholders and to maintain tax-favoured status the awards must operate on a consistent basis for all employees.

 

How the views of employees are taken into account

The Committee has not felt it necessary to consult directly with employees on executive remuneration matters, however, it always seeks employee views via management when considering remuneration proposals. The Committee is aware of employment conditions within the wider workforce when setting executive directors' Remuneration Policy.

 

Remuneration Policy for executive directors compared to other employees

The Committee will consider the proposed salary budget for the whole Group when it is deciding on salary increases for executive directors specifically.

 

In line with the Group's strategy to keep remuneration simple and consistent, benefits and pension arrangements provided to executive directors are identical to those offered to all Group employees.
 

The extent to which annual bonuses are offered varies by level of employee within the Group, with the quantum and performance metrics used determined by the nature of the role and responsibilities and market rates at that level.
 

Long-term incentive awards such as the DSP, are only offered to senior management as those awards are more heavily weighted towards performance-related pay and there is a stronger connection between the value created for shareholders and the reward for participants.

 

Shareholders' views

The Committee considers it vitally important to maintain open and transparent communication with the Company's shareholders. In 2018, the Committee consulted major shareholders representing over 60% of the Company's share ownership on the application of the Policy in relation to 2019 executive director remuneration proposals. The shareholders consulted were generally supportive of the proposals for 2019. The Committee received constructive feedback in relation to the alignment of director's pay to all employee rises in basic salary and shareholders' preference for post-vesting holding periods for long-term incentives. Shareholder feedback has been carefully considered by the Committee and will contribute to the development of the 2020 Remuneration Policy.

 

Reward scenarios

The Company's Policy (as previously outlined) is illustrated below using three different performance scenarios: minimum, on-target and maximum: 

 

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

Assumptions:

1.  Minimum = fixed pay only (salary + benefits + pension).

2.  On-target = 55% payable of the 2019 annual bonus  and 62.5% vesting of the 2019 PSP awards being the midpoint between threshold vesting of 25% and maximum vesting of 100%.

3.  Maximum = 100% payable of the 2019 annual bonus and 100% vesting of the 2019 PSP awards.

 

Base salary is as set at 1 January 2019. The value of taxable benefits is based on the cost of supplying those benefits (using the cost as disclosed on page 94) for the year ended 31 December 2018. The executive directors have elected not to participate in the Company's pension arrangements.

 

The executive directors can participate in the Sharesave Plan and SIP on the same basis as other employees. The value that may be received under these schemes is subject to tax approved limits. For simplicity, the value that may be received from participating in these schemes has been excluded from the above charts. The executive directors do not participate in the SIP and the value of vested Sharesave options is included in directors' remuneration set out on page 94 to 96.

 

As required by the regulations no assumption is made as to future share price growth for reward elements (deferred bonus and long-term incentives) that are delivered in shares.

 

Amounts have been rounded to the nearest £1,000. 

 

 

Recruitment and promotion policy

The Committee proposes an executive director's remuneration package for new appointments in line with the principles outlined in the table below:

 

Element of remuneration

Policy

Base salary

Base salary levels will be set based on the roles and responsibilities of the individual together with their relevant skills and experience, taking into account the market rates for companies of comparable size and complexity and internal Company relativities. In some circumstances (e.g. to reflect an individual's limited experience at a Plc board level) it may be considered appropriate to set initial salary levels below the perceived market competitive rate.  Phased increases, potentially above inflation, may then be offered to achieve the desired market positioning over time, subject to an individual's continued performance and development in the role.

Benefits

Benefits as provided to current executive directors. Where necessary the Committee may approve the payment of relocation expenses to facilitate recruitment, and flexibility is retained for the Company to pay legal fees and other costs incurred by the individual in relation to their appointment.

Pension

Defined contributions or a cash alternative at the level provided to current executive directors.

Annual bonus

An annual bonus would operate in the same manner as outlined for the current executive directors (as described above and in the Annual Report on Remuneration), although it would be pro-rated to reflect the employment period during the bonus year. Flexibility will be retained to set equivalent objectives for any new executive joining part way through a year.

 

The maximum bonus potential would not exceed 125% of base salary. 

 

It would be expected that the bonus for a new appointment would be assessed on the same performance metrics as that for the current executive directors on an ongoing basis. However, depending on the timing and nature of appointment it may be necessary to set tailored performance criteria for their first bonus plan. 

Long-term incentives

A new appointment will be eligible to receive PSP awards as outlined in the Policy table.

 

Share awards may be granted shortly after an appointment (subject to the Company not being in a closed period) and would be measured against the same performance criteria as the current executives. However, any award granted outside the normal award and performance cycle may be pro-rated at the Committee's discretion. The Committee may introduce post-vesting holding periods under the PSP for new executives if it considers this an appropriate commitment in conjunction with the shareholding guidelines.

 

The ongoing maximum award would not exceed 200% of base salary.

 

For an internal hire, existing awards would continue over their original vesting period and remain subject to their terms as at the date of grant.  

 

The new appointment would be eligible to participate in the Sharesave Plan and the SIP under the same terms as all other employees.

Buy-out awards

To facilitate an external appointment, it may be necessary to buy-out remuneration which would be forfeited on leaving their previous employer.  When  determining  the  quantum  and structure of any buy-out awards the Committee will, as a minimum, take into account the following factors:

·      the form of remuneration (cash or shares);

·      timing of expected payment/vesting; and

·     expected value (i.e. taking into account the likelihood of achieving the existing performance criteria). 

Buy-out awards, if used, will be granted using the Company's existing share plans to the extent possible, although awards may also be granted outside of these schemes if necessary and as permitted under the Listing Rules.

 

Directors' service contracts and non-executive directors' terms of appointment

The Committee's policy on service agreements for executive directors is that they should provide for 12 months' notice of termination by the Company and by the executive. Any proposals for the early termination by the Company of the service agreements of directors are considered by the Committee.

 

The service agreements for the executive directors allow for lawful termination of employment by making a payment in lieu of notice or by making phased payments over any remaining unexpired period of notice. The phased payments may be reduced if, and to the extent that, the executive finds an alternative remunerated position.

 

In addition, any statutory entitlements or sums to settle or compromise claims in connection with the termination would be paid as necessary. The Company may also provide a contribution toward reasonable legal fees or outplacement services.

Peter Brooks-Johnson and Robyn Perriss are entitled to a payment in lieu of notice, restricted to base salary and benefits. In good leaver circumstances a bonus may be paid at the normal time subject to achievement of the performance conditions and pro-rating for the period worked in the year.

 

For awards granted under the PSP 'good leaver' status may be determined, in certain prescribed circumstances, such as death, ill health, disability, redundancy, transfer or sale of the employing company, or other circumstances at the discretion of the Committee. If defined as a 'good leaver', awards will remain subject to performance conditions, which will be measured over the performance period from grant to the original vesting date, unless the Committee determine to assess performance from grant to the date of cessation, and which will be reduced pro-rata to reflect the proportion of the performance period actually served. The Committee retains the discretion to disapply time pro-rating in exceptional circumstances and to accelerate the vesting of awards for 'good leavers' in the event of death.

 

For awards granted under the DSP, 'good leaver' status may be determined for reasons of death, injury, disability, redundancy, transfer or sale of the employing company or other circumstances at the discretion of the Committee. If defined as a 'good leaver', awards will be retained and vest on the original vesting date, save as above in the event of death, when the Committee has the discretion to accelerate vesting.


Scott Forbes' appointment may be terminated by either party giving to the other not less than three months' notice in writing. The Company may also terminate by making a payment in lieu of notice. Scott Forbes is not contractually entitled to any other benefits on termination of his contract.


The Letters of Appointment for the non-executive directors provide for a term of up to two three-year periods and a possible further three-year term (subject to re-election by shareholders and subject to the director remaining independent). The appointments may be terminated with a notice period of three months on either side and the Letters of Appointment set out the time commitments required to meet the expectations of their roles.

 

Copies are available for inspection on request to the Company Secretary.
 

 

 

Further details of all directors' contracts and Letters of Appointment are summarised below:

 

 


Date of appointment

Date of contract/Letter of Appointment


Notice (months)

 

Length of service at
28 February 2019

Executive directors

 

 

 

 

Peter Brooks-Johnson(1)

10 January 2011

22 February 2011

12

8 years 1 month

Robyn Perriss(2)

30 April 2013

1 May 2013

12

5 years 10 months

Non-executive directors

 

 

 

 

Scott Forbes (Chairman) (3)

13 July 2005

21 February 2006

3

13 years 7 months

Peter Williams

3 February 2014

3 February 2014

3

5 years 1 month

Rakhi Goss-Custard

28 July 2014

28 July 2014

3

4 years 7 months

Jacqueline de Rojas

30 December 2016

10 October 2016

3

2 years 2 months

Andrew Findlay

1 June 2017

11 May 2017

3

 1 year 9 months

Lorna Tilbian

1 February 2018

19 January 2018

3

1 year 1 month

(1)  Peter Brooks-Johnson joined the Group on 9 January 2006 and was appointed to the Board on 10 January 2011. His service with the Group at the date of this report is 13 years and 1 month.

(2)  Robyn Perriss joined the Group on 1 July 2007 and was appointed to the Board on 30 April 2013. Her service to the Group at the date of this report is 11 years and 8 months.

(3)  The Chairman's letter of appointment was transferred from Rightmove Group Limited to Rightmove plc with effect from 28 January 2008 on completion of a Scheme of Arrangement.

 

External appointments

With the approval of the Board in each case, executive directors may accept one external appointment as a non-executive director of another listed or similar company and retain any fees received.

 

In October 2018, Peter Brooks-Johnson was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Interim Board of  MPI - Marketplaces International.  MPI is the preliminary business name of the international online classifieds operation owned by Schibsted ASA, which will be spun off and established as an independent, listed company. Peter received a director's fee of 149,250 Norwegian Krone from MPI for the period of his appointment to 31 December 2018.

 

Robyn Perriss currently holds no outside directorships.

 

 

 

Annual Report on Remuneration


Remuneration Committee role and membership

 

Terms of reference

The primary role of the Committee is to make recommendations to the Board as to the Company's overall policy and framework for the remuneration of the executive directors and the Chairman of the Board. The remuneration and terms of appointment of the non-executive directors are determined by the Board as a whole.

 

In accordance with the Code, the Committee also recommends the structure and monitors the level of remuneration for the first layer of management below Board level. The Committee is also aware of, and advises on, the employee benefit structures throughout the Group and ensures that it is kept aware of any potential business risks arising from those remuneration arrangements.


The Committee has formal terms of reference which are reviewed annually and updated as required. These are available on the Company's website at plc.rightmove.co.uk or on request from the Company Secretary.


Membership

The following independent non-executive directors were members of the Committee during 2018:

 

Peter Williams (Chairman of the Committee)

Rakhi Goss-Custard

Jacqueline de Rojas (to 4 May 2018)

Lorna Tilbian (from 4 May 2018)

 

The Committee met five times during 2018 and attendance at meetings is shown in the Corporate Governance Report on page 50.

 

The quorum for meetings of the Committee is two members. The Committee will meet as necessary, but normally at least five times a year. The Company Secretary acts as Secretary to the Committee.

 

Only members of the Committee have the right to attend Committee meetings. The Chairman of the Committee has requested that the Chairman of the Board attend the meetings except during discussions relating to his own remuneration. The CEO may also be invited to meetings when the Committee is considering his recommendations on the remuneration of executive colleagues and management below Board level. No executive director is involved in deciding their own remuneration.
 

External advisors

Aon, which is a member of the Remuneration Consultants Group and has signed up to its Code of Conduct, has been retained as the Committee's remuneration advisor since 2011. The terms of engagement between the Company and Aon are available from the Company Secretary on request.

 

The total fees paid to Aon in respect of services to the Committee during the year were £27,000.


During 2018 Aon also provided services to the Company in connection with the valuation of share-based incentives (as required by IFRS 2) and confirmed that, in its view, these services did not present a conflict of interest with the other services provided to the Committee. The Committee reviews its relationship with external advisors on a regular basis and continues to believe that there are no conflicts of interest.

 

What has the Committee done during the year?

The Committee met five times during the year to consider and, where appropriate, approve key remuneration items including: 

 

Pay and incentive plan reviews

·    annual review and approval of executive directors' base salaries and benefits;

·    review of 2018 business performance against relevant performance targets to determine annual bonus payouts and vesting of long-term incentives;

·    review and approval of appropriate benchmarks and performance measures for the annual performance-related bonus and 2018 PSP awards to ensure measures are aligned with strategy and that targets are appropriately stretching;

·    approval of share awards granted in March 2018 under the Deferred Share Bonus Plan (DSP) and the PSP; and

·    ongoing monitoring of senior management remuneration.

 

Governance and strategy

·    review and approval of the Directors' Remuneration Report;

·    review of the 2018 AGM voting and feedback from institutional investors;

·    approval of changes to the share plan rules for the new Data Protection Act;

·    consultation with shareholders on the 2019 executive remuneration proposals;

·    adoption of a new Restricted Share Plan for use with market purchase shares for senior managers;

·    evaluation of the Committee's performance during the year; and

·    review of the Committee's terms of reference.

 

Application of Policy for the year ending 31 December 2019

 

Salaries

The executive directors' salaries for the 2019 financial year are set out in the table below:
 

 

Salary

1 January 2019

Salary

31 December 2018

 

Workforce increase plus


 

Change

Executive directors

 

 

 

 

Peter Brooks-Johnson

£500,605

£472,268

3%

6%

Robyn Perriss

£359,552

£339,200

3%

6%

 

The 6% increase in base salaries for the executive directors represents an increase of 3% above the average workforce rise of 3% for 2019, primarily to recognise the scale and complexity of those roles and to address the relatively low pay of these executives compared with market norms. The salaries remain well below the market median for executives in comparable companies. All employee salaries are subject to annual review and market adjustments as appropriate; the Committee approves salaries for the senior management team and other key roles.

 

Pension and other benefits

The Group operates a stakeholder pension plan for all employees under which the employer contributes 6% of base salary, subject to the employee contributing a minimum of 3% of base salary. Peter  Brooks-Johnson and Robyn Perriss elected not to participate in the pension plan during the year. The Company does not contribute to any personal pension arrangements.

 

The executive directors are enrolled on the same terms as all employees in the Group's private medical insurance scheme and receive life assurance cover equal to four times base salary. Additionally, the executive directors are members of the Group's medical cash plan.

 

 Annual bonus

The annual bonus for the 2019 financial year will be consistent with the policy detailed on pages 78 to 79 of the Policy section of this report in terms of maximum bonus opportunity, deferral and clawback provisions. The mechanism through which the clawback can be implemented (enabling both the recovery and withholding of incentive pay) enables the Committee to (i) reduce the cash bonus earned in a subsequent year and/or reduce outstanding DSP/PSP share awards (i.e. withholding provisions may be used to effect a recovery) or (ii) for the Committee to require that a net of tax balancing cash payment be made to the Company. The performance measures have been selected to reflect a range of financial and strategic targets that continue to support the key objectives of the Group.

 

The performance measures and weightings will be as follows:

 

Measure

As a % of maximum bonus opportunity

Financial targets

Underlying operating profit (1)

65%

Strategic targets

Traffic market share(2)

Other revenue(3)

Tenant services(4)

Employee engagement(5)

15%

10%

5%

5%

 

(1)  Operating profit before share-based payments and NI on share-based incentives.

(2)  Measured on a time on site basis (minutes spent relative to our nearest competitors) by reference to comScore.

(3)  Revenue excluding Agency and New Homes.

(4)  Based on the number of Rightmove Tenant Passports delivered during 2019.

(5)  Based on the results of the annual employee survey.

    

In relation to the financial target a challenging sliding scale will operate with 25% of the maximum bonus opportunity payable at the threshold underlying operating profit target relative to the 2019 business plan through to 100% becoming payable for significant outperformance relative to the plan. A greater proportion of the award will be paid for exceeding threshold performance.

 

The weighting of Other revenue as a percentage of maximum bonus opportunity has been reduced from 15% in 2018 to 10% in 2019.  A new tenant services operational business target has been introduced at 5%. The new measure reflects the business plan objective to grow the number of Rightmove Tenant Passports completed by prospective tenants, measured as a percentage of leads received by customers via Rightmove that contain a completed Passport. All other performance measures and weightings remain unchanged from 2018.

 

The targets themselves, as they relate to the 2019 financial year, are deemed to be commercially sensitive. However, retrospective disclosure of the targets and performance against them will be provided in next year's Annual Report on Remuneration to the extent that they do not remain commercially sensitive at that time.

 

Long-term incentives

The award levels under the PSP, approved by the Committee in 2018, remain at 200% of base salary for both executive directors.

 

Consistent with the current Policy and previous years, awards to the executive directors under the PSP in 2019 will be subject to a mixture of EPS (75% of awards) and relative TSR (25% of the awards) performance conditions. The 2019 targets are as follows:
 

EPS performance condition

The Group's EPS growth will be measured over the period of three financial years (2019 to 2021). The EPS figure used will be equivalent to the Group's basic underlying EPS (before share-based payments, National Insurance on share-based incentives and no related adjustment for tax). With a view to ensuring appropriately stretching but achievable targets are set in light of market expectations for the Group, the following range of targets will apply to the 2019 awards:

Underlying basic EPS growth

from 2019 to 2021(1)

% of award vesting

(maximum 75%)

Less than 20%

0%

20%

18.75%

50%

75%

Between 20% and 50%

Straight-line vesting

(1) The benchmark underlying basic EPS for the financial year 2018 from which these targets will be measured is 18.3p.

 

As in prior years, the targets that are intended to operate for the 2019 PSP awards were set to be appropriately demanding in light of the Group's internal planning, external market expectations for future growth and the current trading environment. The targets are considered to provide a realistic incentive at the lower end of the performance range but require exceptional performance to achieve full vesting. On this basis, the Committee is satisfied that the range of targets are appropriately demanding, and no less challenging than the range of targets set for prior year awards. 

 

Relative TSR performance condition

The vesting schedule for the relative TSR element of executive directors' 2019 PSP awards is set out below. Relative TSR will be assessed against the FTSE 350 Index, reflecting the Company's size in terms of market capitalisation. Performance will be measured over three financial years.

 

TSR performance of the Company relative to the FTSE 350 Index(1)

% of award vesting

(maximum 25%)

Less than the Index

0%

Equal to the Index

6.25%

25% higher than the Index

25%

Intermediate performance

Straight-line vesting

(1) If the FTSE 350 Index's TSR was 50% over the three-year performance period, then the Company's TSR would have to be at least 75% for all 25% of the PSP shares to vest.

 

Chairman and non-executive directors' fees

In line with our Policy, the Chairman and non-executive directors' fees were reviewed in a market context and in light of directors' time commitments during 2018 and increased with effect from 1 January 2019. The next review is scheduled for 2021 with any increase taking effect in 2022.

 

The basic non-executive fee has been increased to £55,000 with an additional £15,000 fee per annum paid for the chairing of the Audit and Remuneration Committees.  The extra fee of £5,000 for the Senior Independent Director is unchanged:

 

 

Annual fee 1 January 2019

Annual fee 31 December 2018

Scott Forbes (Chairman)

£185,000

£170,000

Peter Williams

£75,000

£65,000

Andrew Findlay

£70,000

£56,558(1)

Rakhi Goss-Custard

£55,000

£50,000

Jacqueline de Rojas

£55,000

£50,000

Lorna Tilbian

£55,000

£45,833(2)

(1)  Fee for non-executive director to 4 May 2018 and for Audit Committee Chairman from that date.

(2)  Fee for 11 months from appointment on 1 February 2018.

 

 

Statement of shareholder voting at AGM

At the AGM on 4 May 2018, shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favour of the Directors' Remuneration Report. The Committee believes this illustrates the strong level of shareholder support for the remuneration framework. The table below shows full details of the voting outcomes for the Directors' Remuneration Report:

 

 

Votes for

% Votes for

Votes against

% Votes against

Votes withheld(1)

Directors' Remuneration Report

72,763,617

95.12

3,731,967

4.88

295,965

(1) A vote withheld is not a vote in law and is not counted in the calculation of the proportion of votes cast 'For' and 'Against' a resolution.

 

In line with the Company's commitment to ongoing dialogue with its shareholders, the Committee corresponds with major shareholders and meetings are offered, where appropriate, to understand the reasons for any potential or actual opposition to the Company's Remuneration Policy. Changes will be made to our Policy where it is considered appropriate to do so.

 

Review of past performance

Share price performance

The Company's share price ended the year at £4.32, down 4.0% year on year (the FTSE 250 Index was down

15. 6% and the FTSE 350 Index was down 13.0%). On a three-year basis the share price has increased by 4.6% and performance relative to FTSE 250 and FTSE 350 Indices over that period is shown in the graphs on page 93.

 

Total shareholder return (TSR)

The first graph below compares the TSR of Rightmove's shares against the FTSE 250 Index and the FTSE 350 Index for the three-year period from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2018. TSR is the product of movements in the share price plus dividends reinvested on the ex-dividend date. TSR provides a useful, widely used benchmark to illustrate the Company's performance over the last three years. Specifically, it illustrates the value of £100 invested in Rightmove's shares and in the FTSE 250 Index and the FTSE 350 Index over that period.

 

As required by the Act, the Company's TSR performance is required to be shown against a recognised broad-based share index. Since 2016, as Rightmove continues to be ranked towards the top of the FTSE 250 Index (and more recently in the FTSE 100) in terms of market capitalisation, the FTSE 350 Index is felt to be more appropriate for the purpose of comparing TSR performance and therefore this will be used as the criteria applied to 25% of the PSP awards to be granted in March 2019.

                                                                                                

The graphs below illustrate, for statutory purposes, the TSR of Rightmove's shares against the FTSE 250 Index and the FTSE 350 Index for the three and ten years to 31 December 2018.

 

  

TSR Graph - three years  

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

TSR Graph - ten years

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

Total remuneration for the Chief Executive Officer
The table below shows the total remuneration figure for the Chief Executive Officer over a ten-year performance period. The total remuneration figure includes the annual bonus and long-term incentive awards that vested based on performance in those years.

Year

Executive

Total single figure

£

Annual bonus outturn (% of maximum)

Long-term incentive outturn
(% of maximum)

2018

Peter Brooks-Johnson

1,490,178

78%

67%

2017

Peter Brooks-Johnson(1)

Nick McKittrick(1)

504,557
1,223,443

60%
n/a

100%
100%

2016

Nick McKittrick

2,126,923

92%

100%

2015

Nick McKittrick

2,300,349

100%

100%

2014

Nick McKittrick

1,599,610

70%

92%

2013

Nick McKittrick
Ed Williams(2)

531,371

1,531,515

85%

n/a

100%

100%

2012

Ed Williams

2,219,882

90%

100%

2011

Ed Williams

4,934,942

100%

100%

2010

Ed Williams

652,800

100%

-(3)

2009

Ed Williams

627,641

100%

-(3)

 

(1)  Nick McKittrick was Chief Executive Officer and a director until 9 May 2017 and retired from Rightmove on 30 June 2017. Peter Brooks-Johnson was appointed Chief Executive Officer on 9 May 2017.

(2)  Ed Williams was Chief Executive Officer until his retirement on 30 April 2013. Nick McKittrick was appointed Chief Executive Officer at this time.

(3) The table above includes share-based incentive awards in the period that the associated performance conditions, excluding service conditions are satisfied. Certain pre-float share option awards prior to 2006, which had only service conditions and no performance conditions would have been included in the single figure remuneration table in the year of grant in accordance with Schedule 8 of the Act. The table above therefore excludes £4,151,532 and £2,026,674 of awards with no performance conditions, which vested in 2010 and 2009 respectively.

 

Directors' remuneration (audited)

 

The information included below up to and including page 103 is audited.


The remuneration of the directors of the Company during 2018 for time served as a director is as follows:

 

 

Fixed Pay

Performance-related pay

 

 

 

 

Salary/fee
£

 

 

 

Benefits(1)
£

 

Fixed pay subtotal
 £

 

 

Annual
bonus(2)
£

Long-term incentives (3)
£

 

Performance-related pay
subtotal
£

 

Total remuneration in 2018
£


Executive directors

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Brooks-Johnson

472,268

2,192

474,460

460,462

555,256

1,015,718

1,490,178

Robyn Perriss(4)

339,200

1,414

340,614

330,720

439,219

769,939

1,110,553


Non-executive directors

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Forbes

170,000

-

170,000

-

-

-

170,000

Ashley Martin(5)

20,870

-

20,870

-

-

-

20,870

Peter Williams

65,000

-

65,000

-

-

-

65,000

Rakhi Goss-Custard

 

50,000

 

-

 

50,000

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

50,000

Jacqueline de Rojas

50,000

-

50,000

-

-

-

50,000

Andrew Findlay(6)

56,558

-

56,558

-

-

-

56,558

Lorna Tilbian(7)

45,833

-

45,833

-

-

-

45,833

                 

(1) Benefits in kind for the executive directors relate to private medical insurance and the medical cash plan. 

(2) The annual bonus amount relates to the accrued payment in respect of the full year results for the year ended 31 December 2018 including the deferred element (60% of annual bonus).

(3) The value of the long-term incentives includes nil cost PSPs where vesting is calculated by taking the number of nil cost options expected to vest in March 2019 (including dividend roll up), which are dependent on the three-year performance period ended 31 December 2018 and multiplying by the year end closing share price of £4.32.

(4) In cash terms, Robyn received £6,523 less in relation to her base salary as she exchanged salary for five additional days holiday benefit under the Group's flexible holiday policy.

(5) Fee for the period to retirement on 4 May 2018.

(6) Fee as a non-executive director to 4 May 2018 and as Audit Committee Chairman from that date.

(7) Fee for 11 months from appointment on 1 February 2018.

 

 

The remuneration of the directors of the Company during 2017 was:

 

Fixed Pay

Performance-related pay

 

 

 

 

Salary/

fee
£

 

 

 

Benefits(1)
£

 

Fixed pay subtotal
 £

 

 

Annual
bonus(2)
£

Long-term incentives (3)
£

 

Performance- related pay
subtotal
£

 

Total remuneration in 2017
£


Executive directors

Peter Brooks-Johnson(4)

420,103

1,852

421,955

315,077

1,155,196

1,470,273

1,892,228

Robyn Perriss

320,000

1,406

321,406

240,000

925,763

1,165,763

1,487,169

Non-executive directors

Scott Forbes

170,000

-

170,000

-

-

-

170,000

Colin Kemp(5)

18,012

-

18,012

-

-

-

18,012

Ashley Martin

60,000

-

60,000

-

-

-

60,000

Peter Williams

65,000

-

65,000

-

-

-

65,000

Rakhi Goss-Custard

 

50,000

 

-

 

50,000

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

50,000

Jacqueline de Rojas

50,000

-

50,000

-

-

-

50,000

Andrew Findlay(6)

29,166

-

29,166

-

-

-

29,166

                     

 

(1)  Benefits in kind for the executive directors relate to private medical insurance and the medical cash plan. 

(2)  The annual bonus amount relates to the accrued payment in respect of the full year results for the year ended 31 December 2017 including the deferred element (60% of annual bonus).

(3)  The value of the long-term incentives includes:

·      nil cost PSPs where vesting is calculated by taking the number of nil cost options expected to vest in March 2018 (including dividend roll up), which are dependent on the three-year performance period ended 31 December 2017 and multiplying by the 31 December 2017 closing share price of £4.50; and

·      the notional capital gain on Sharesave options exercisable on 1 November 2017 which reflects the difference between the option grant price and the market value of shares on the date they vested.

(4)  Reflects base salary of £373,136 as Chief Operating Officer to 9 May 2017 and increased annual salary of £445,536 as Chief Executive Officer from 10 May 2017.

(5)  Fee for four months to 9 May 2017.

(6)  Fee for seven months from 1 June 2017 to 31 December 2017.

 

Defined contribution pension

The Group operates a stakeholder pension plan for employees under which the employer contributes 6% of base salary, subject to the employee contributing a minimum of 3% of base salary. None of the directors elected to participate in the pension plan in either year. The Company does not contribute to any personal pension arrangements.

 

How was pay linked to performance in 2018?

 

 

Annual bonus plan

The incentive for the financial year ended 31 December 2018 was in the form of a cash bonus of up to 50% of salary and a DSP bonus of up to 75% of salary (i.e. 125% in total). The bonus (both cash and DSP elements) was determined by a mixture of underlying operating profit performance (65%) and key performance indicators (35%) relating to underlying drivers of long-term revenue growth.

 

When comparing performance against the 2018 bonus targets set, the Committee determined that 78% of the maximum achievable cash and DSP bonus should be paid to the executive directors. Accordingly, a cash bonus of 39.0% of base salary (out of a maximum of 50%) will be paid to the executives and 58.5% of base salary (out of a maximum of 75%) will be granted to the executive directors under the DSP, which will be deferred until March 2021. More details are provided in the table below:

 

Measure

Hurdle

As a % of maximum bonus opportunity

Actual performance achieved

Resulting bonus

% achieved

Financial targets

Underlying operating profit (1)

Targets:

·      £194.4m: 25% payout

·      £205.9m: 100% payout

65%

Underlying operating profit achieved: £203.3m

 

The 2018 underlying operating profit represented growth of 10% on 2017

54%

Strategic targets

Traffic market share

Growth in time in minutes spent on Rightmove platforms as measured by comScore relative to nearest competitors

·      Same absolute growth:
25% payout

·      50% higher absolute growth: 100% payout

15%

Growth in time in minutes spent on Rightmove platforms year on year was over 800% higher than our nearest competitors

15%

Other revenue(2)

·      Growth of 10%: 25% payout

·      Growth of 15%: 100% payout

15%

Revenue increased by 11% from £18.6m to £20.6m

7%

Employee engagement (3)

 

Percentage of respondents to the employee survey who say 'Rightmove is a great place to work':

·      90%: 25% payout

·      95%: 100% payout

5%

91% of respondents say 'Rightmove is a great place to work'

2%

Total

 

100%

 

78%

 

(1)  Operating profit before share-based payments and NI on share-based incentives.

(2)  The targets relate to all revenue streams except Agency and New Homes.

(3)  Based on the results of the annual employee survey.

 

  

Long-term incentives vesting during the year

The PSP awards granted in March 2016 were subject to EPS (75% of the awards) and relative TSR (25% of the awards) performance conditions that related to the three-year period ended 31 December 2018. The vesting schedule for the relative TSR element of executive directors' 2016 PSP awards is set out below:

 

 

Relative TSR condition

% of award vesting

 (maximum 25%)

Less than the Index

0%

Equal to the Index

6.25%

25% higher than the Index

25%

Intermediate performance

Straight-line vesting

 

At the end of the performance period, Rightmove's TSR was 10.1% compared to 20.7% for the FTSE 350 Index. This performance is below the Index and therefore this part of the award (maximum 25%) will not vest on 1 March 2019.

 

Rightmove's EPS growth is measured over a period of three financial years (2016 to 2018). The EPS figure used is equivalent to Rightmove's reported underlying basic EPS (before share-based payments, NI on share-based incentives and no related adjustment for tax) and the vesting schedule is set out below:

 

Underlying basic EPS growth

from 2016 to 2018

% of award vesting

(maximum 75%)

Less than 25%

0%

25%

18.75%

55%

75%

Between 25% and 55%

Straight-line vesting


At the end of the performance period, underlying basic EPS was 18.3p which from an underlying basic EPS base of 12.1p (restated for comparability to reflect the 10:1 share subdivision effective 31 August 2018) results in three-year EPS growth of 51%, just below the maximum 55% EPS growth target and will result in 67% vesting of this part of the award (maximum of 75%) on 1 March 2019.

 

Share awards granted during the year

On 28 February 2018 Peter Brooks-Johnson and Robyn Perriss were awarded shares under the PSP, which vest in March 2020, and are subject to a mixture of EPS (75% of the awards) and TSR relative to the FTSE 350 Index (25% of the awards) performance with the greater weighting on EPS to reflect its particular relevance to the performance of the business.

 

Executive director

Basis of grant

Number of shares

Face value of award(1) 

Peter Brooks-Johnson

200% of base salary

212,310(2)

£944,536

Robyn Perriss

200% of base salary

152,490(2)

£678,400


(1) Based on the average mid-market share price for the three consecutive days prior to grant, taken from the Daily Official List, of £44.49 which is equivalent to £4.449 post the 10:1 share subdivision.

(2)  Adjusted for 10:1 share subdivision effective on 31 August 2018.

 

The vesting schedule for the relative TSR element of executive directors' 2018 PSP awards is set out below. It is consistent with the TSR condition used for previous grants under the share option scheme. Performance will be measured over three financial years.

 

 

Relative TSR condition

% of award vesting

 (maximum 25%)

Less than the Index

0%

Equal to the Index

6.25%

25% higher than the Index

25%

Intermediate performance

Straight-line vesting

 

Rightmove's EPS growth will be measured over a period of three financial years (2018-2020). The EPS figure used will be equivalent to the Group's underlying basic EPS (before share-based payments, NI on share-based incentives and no related adjustments for tax).

 

The following vesting schedule will apply for executive directors' awards granted in 2018:

 

Underlying basic EPS growth

from 2018 to 2020

% of award vesting

(maximum 75%)

Less than 20%

0%

20%

18.75%

50%

75%

Between 20% and 50%

Straight-line vesting


The benchmark underlying basic EPS for the financial year 2017 from which these targets will be measured is 16.3p (restated for comparability to reflect the 10:1 share subdivision effective 31 August 2018).

 

Share-based incentives held by the directors and not exercised as at 31 December 2018

 

Date granted

Share-based incentives held
1 January 2018

Granted in year/ dividend roll-up

Exercise price

Share-based incentives adjusted for subdivision

(10:1) (1)

Exercised  post subdivision

Exercise price post subdivision

Average share price at date of exercise

Share-based incentives held at 31 December 2018

Vesting date

Expiry date

Executive directors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter

Brooks-Johnson

05/03/2009 (Unapproved)

139,286

-

£2.24

1,392,860

1,392,860(2)

£0.22

£4.37

-

05/03/2012

04/03/2019

05/03/2010 (Unapproved)

52,553

-

£6.66

525,530

-

£0.67

-

525,530

05/03/2013

04/03/2020

03/03/2014 (PSP)

26,021

-

£0.00

260,210

260,210(3)

£0.00

£4.37

-

03/03/2017

02/03/2019

02/03/2015 (PSP)

24,556

895

£0.00

254,510

-

£0.00

-

254,510

02/03/2018

01/03/2020

01/10/2015 (Sharesave)

304

-

£29.60

3,040

-

£2.96

-

3,040

01/11/2018

30/04/2019

01/03/2016 (DSP)

6,617

-

£0.00

66,170

66,170(4)

£0.00

£4.37

-

01/03/2018

28/02/2019

01/03/2016 (PSP)

18,351

-

£0.00

183,510

-

£0.00

-

183,510

01/03/2019

28/02/2021

01/03/2017 (DSP)

6,141

-

£0.00

61,410

-

£0.00

-

61,410

01/03/2019

29/02/2020

01/03/2017 (PSP)

18,691

-

£0.00

186,910

-

£0.00

-

186,910

01/03/2020

28/02/2022

09/05/2017 (PSP)

3,457

-

£0.00

34,570

-

£0.00

-

34,570

09/05/2020

08/05/2022

01/10/2017 (Sharesave)

273

-

£32.89

2,730

-

£3.29

-

2,730

01/11/2020

30/04/2021

28/02/2018 (PSP)

-

21,231(7)

£0.00

212,310

-

£0.00

-

212,310

28/02/2021

27/02/2023

28/02/2018 (DSP)

-

4,249(8)

£0.00

42,490

-

£0.00

-

42,490

28/02/2020

27/02/2021

01/10/2018 (Sharesave)

-

2,313(9)

-

2,313

-

£3.89

-

2,313

01/11/2021

30/04/2022

TOTAL

296,250

28,688

-

3,228,563

1,719,240

-

-

 1,509,323

 

 

 

 

 

Date granted

Share-based incentives held
1 January 2018

Granted in year/ dividend roll-up

Exercise price

Exercised prior to subdivision on 31 August 2018

Share-based incentives adjusted for subdivision

(10:1) (1)

Exercise price post subdivision

Average share price at date of exercise

Share-based incentives held at 31 December 2018

Vesting date

Expiry date

Robyn Perriss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02/03/2015 (PSP)

19,425

708

£0.00

20,133 (5)

-

£0.00

£49.48

-

02/03/2018

01/03/2020

01/03/2016 (DSP)

5,234

-

£0.00

5,234(6)

-

£0.00

£49.48

-

01/03/2018

28/02/2019

01/03/2016 (PSP)

14,516

-

£0.00

-

145,160

£0.00

-

145,160

01/03/2019

28/02/2021

01/03/2017 (DSP)

4,858

-

£0.00

-

48,580

£0.00

-

48,580

01/03/2019

29/02/2020

01/03/2017 (PSP)

16,029

-

£0.00

-

160,290

£0.00

-

160,290

01/03/2020

28/02/2022

01/10/2017 (Sharesave)

547

-

£32.89

-

5,470

£3.29

-

5,470

01/11/2020

30/04/2021

28/02/2018 (PSP)

-

15,249 (7)

£0.00

-

152,490

£0.00

-

152,490

28/02/2021

27/02/2023

28/02/2018 (DSP)

-

3,236(8)

£0.00

-

32,360

£0.00

-

32,360

28/02/2020

27/02/2021

TOTAL

60,609

19,193

25,367

544,350

 -

544,350

 

 

 

(1)     The Company's ordinary shares of 1 pence each were divided into 10 new ordinary shares of 0.1 pence each on
31 August 2018.  The option prices and the number of shares under options granted before 31 August 2018 have been restated for the share subdivision. Options exercised before the share subdivision have not been restated.

(2)     The unapproved option granted on 5 March 2009 was exercised by Peter Brooks-Johnson and net settled by the Company on 27 November 2018. Peter subsequently sold 623,440 shares at a price of £4.37 per share to satisfy the resulting tax liability and retained the balance of 697,406 shares.

(3)     The nil cost performance shares awarded under the PSP to executive directors on 3 March 2014 vested in 2017 subject to EPS and relative TSR performance measures, which were met in fullPeter Brooks-Johnson exercised the nil cost option over 260,210 shares (which included a dividend roll-up of 8,810 shares) on 27 November 2018 and sold 122,820 shares at an average market price of £4.37 per share to satisfy the resulting tax liability and retained the balance of 137,390 shares.

(4)     The nil cost deferred shares granted under the DSP on 1 March 2016 vested in March 2017. Peter Brooks-Johnson exercised the nil cost option over 66,170 shares on 27 November 2018, sold 31,233 shares at an average market price of £4.37 per share to satisfy the resulting tax liability and retained the balance of 34,937 shares.

(5)     The nil cost performance shares awarded under the PSP to executive directors on 2 March 2015 vested in March 2018 subject to EPS and relative TSR performance measures, which were met in fullRobyn Perriss exercised the nil cost option over 20,133 shares (which included a dividend roll-up of 708 shares) on 16 August 2018 and sold 14,798 shares at an average market price of £49.48 per share to satisfy the resulting tax liability and retained 5,335 shares, being half the balance available after tax.

(6)     The nil cost deferred shares granted under the DSP on 1 March 2016 vested in March 2018. Robyn Perriss exercised the nil cost option over 5,234 shares on 16 August 2018 and sold all the shares at an average market price of £49.48 per share.

(7)     On 28 February 2018, the executive directors were awarded nil cost deferred shares under the DSP, which vest in March 2020.  The average mid-market share price for the three consecutive preceding days, used to calculate the number of shares awarded, was £44.49.

(8)     On 28 February 2018, the executive directors were awarded nil cost performance shares under the PSP, which vest in March 2021.  Further details are set out on pages 98 to 99.

(9)     On 1 October 2018, Peter Brooks-Johnson was granted a Sharesave option over 2,313 shares of 0.1p each (following the share sub-division) at an exercise price of £3.89.  The option will be exercisable from November 2021.

 

 

Dilution

All existing executive share-based incentives can be satisfied from shares held in the Rightmove Employees' Share Trust (EBT) and shares held in treasury. It is intended that the 2019 share-based incentive awards will also be settled from shares currently held in the EBT or from shares held in treasury without any requirement to issue further shares.

 

During 2018, treasury shares were used to satisfy vested DSP and PSP awards and unapproved options over 4,111,256 shares, representing 0.5% of issued share capital (less treasury shares) as at 31 December 2018.

 

Directors' interests in shares
The interests (both beneficial and family interests) of the directors in office at the date of this report in the share capital of the Company were as follows:

 

 

Interests in ordinary shares of 0.1p

Interests in share-based incentives

 

 

 

 

At

31 December 2018

At 1 January 2018

(restated for 10: 1 share subdivision)

 

 PSP & DSP awards (unvested)

 

PSP & DSP awards (vested but unexercised)

 

 

 

Options (unvested)

 

 

Options (vested but unexercised)


Executive directors

Peter Brooks-Johnson

 

1,771,493

 

907,160

 

721,200

 

254,510

 

5,043

 

528,570

Robyn Perriss

241,150

187,890

538,880

-

5,470

-


Non-executive directors


Scott Forbes

 

2,193,000


2,193,000


-

 

-


-


-

Peter Williams

37,280

37,280

-

-

-

-

Rakhi Goss-Custard

 

5,440

 

5,440

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

Jacqueline de Rojas

 

1,880

 

1,880

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

Andrew Findlay

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

Lorna Tilbian

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

4,250,243

3,332,650

1,260,080

254,510

10,513

528,570

                 

 

·     The Company's shares in issue (including 14,813,304 shares held in treasury) as at 31 December 2018 comprised 907,684,330 ordinary shares of 0.1p each (2017: 93,266,207 ordinary shares of 1p each).

·     The closing share price of the Company was £4.32 as at 31 December 2018. The lowest and highest share prices during the year, restated for the share subdivision, were £4.18 and £5.35 respectively.

·     The executive directors are regarded as being interested, for the purposes of the Companies Act 2006, in 2,248,020 ordinary shares of 0.1p each (2017: 263,767 ordinary shares of 1p each) in the Company currently held by the EBT at 31 December 2018 as they are, together with other employees, potential beneficiaries of the EBT.

·     The directors' beneficial holdings represent 0.5% of the Company's shares in issue as at 31 December 2018 (2017: 0.4%) (excluding shares held in treasury).

·     There have been no changes to the above interests between the year end and the date of this report.

 

 

 

Executive director share ownership guidelines are set out in the Remuneration Policy Report on page 80. The interests of the executive directors in office at 31 December 2018 in the share capital of the Company as a percentage of base salary were as follows:

 

 

 

 

Base salary
1 January 2019

Number of shares held at 31 December 2018

Value of shares at 31 December 2018(1)

Value of shares as a % of base salary

 

Executive directors

Peter Brooks-Johnson

£500,605

1,771,493

£7,652,850

1,529%

Robyn Perriss

£359,552

241,150

£1,041,768

290%

(1)   Based on £4.32 per share, being the closing share price on 31 December 2018.

 

 

Percentage increase in the remuneration of the Chief Executive Officer

The table below shows the movement in the salary, benefits and annual bonus for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) between the current and previous financial year compared to that of the total amounts for all employees of the Group for each of these elements of pay.

 

The CEO's base salary increased by 6%, in line with the approved Remuneration Policy of awarding 3% above the average workforce inflationary increase for 2018. The annual bonus of the CEO increased relative to 2017 by 38% as a result of 78% of the maximum bonus being achieved in relation to the 2018 bonus targets, compared with a payout of 60% for 2017.

 

The average salary for all employees increased by 5% due to a 3% universal cost of living increase in January 2018, above cost of living increases for changing roles with greater responsibilities and market adjustments.  The bonus increase was due to 78% of the maximum senior management bonus being achieved compared with a payout of 60% for 2017.

 

2018
£

2017
£

 

% change

Chief Executive Officer
Salary

472,268

445,536

 

6%

Benefits

2,192

1,852

18%

Annual bonus

460,461

334,152

38%

Average of all employees(1)

Salary

 

48,193

 

45,995

 

5%

Benefits

854

770

11%

Annual bonus

1,805

1,571

15%

 

 

 

 

Ratio of CEO to average employee pay(2)

18x

16x

13%

(1) Based on 493 employees, which excludes the executive directors.

(2) The multiple of the CEO remuneration compared to the average employee's remuneration.

 

 

Relative importance of the spend on pay

The table below shows the total pay for all Rightmove's employees compared to other key financial indicators. Additional information on the number of employees, total revenue and underlying operating profit has been provided for context.

 

 

Year ended
31 December 2018

Year ended
31 December 2017

 

 

% change

Employee costs (refer Note 7)

£30,506,000

£28,338,000

8%

Dividends paid to shareholders (refer Note 12)

£54,977,000

£49,611,000

11%

Purchase of own shares (refer Note 23)

£113,528,000

£90,809,000

25%

Income tax (refer Note 10)

£37,815,000

£34,120,000

11%

Average number of employees (refer Note 7)(1)

495

479

3%

Revenue

£267,821,000

£243,273,000

10%

Underlying operating profit(2)

£203,329,000

£184,365,000

10%

(1) Average number of employees includes executive directors.

(2) Before share-based payments and NI on share-based incentives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independent auditor's report

 

to the members of Rightmove plc

  

http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5047R_1-2019-2-28.pdf

 

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2018

 

 

 


2018


2017

 

Note

£000

£000

 

 

 

 

Revenue

4,5

267,821

243,273

 

Administrative expenses

 

 

(69,231)

 

(64,972)

Underlying operating profit

 

203,329

184,365

Share-based payments

25

(4,320)

(4,836)

NI on share-based incentives

25

(419)

(1,228)


Operating profit


6

 

198,590

 

178,301

Financial income

8

171

129

Financial expenses

9

(491)

(214)

Net financial expense

 

(320)

(85)

Profit before tax

 

198,270

178,216

Income tax expense

10

(37,815)

(34,120)

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year being total comprehensive income

 

 

160,455

 

144,096

Attributable to:
Equity holders of the parent

 

 

160,455

 

144,096

 

 

 

 

Earnings per share (pence) *

 

 

Restated*

Basic

11

17.80

15.67

Diluted

11

17.69

15.51

 

 

 

 

Dividends per share (pence) *

12

6.10

5.40

Total dividends

12

54,977

49,611

 

 

 

 


* Following a ten for one subdivision of the Company's ordinary share capital, effective 31 August 2018, comparative earnings per share and dividend per share numbers have been restated for the 2017 financial year to ensure comparability of information.





 

 

 

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION
AS AT 31 DECEMBER 2018


 

 

 

Note

2018
£000

 2017
£000

Non-current assets

 

 

 

Property, plant and equipment

13

15,203

2,709

Intangible assets

14

2,873

3,290

Deferred tax asset

16

2,798

5,745

Total non-current assets

 

20,874

11,744

Current assets

 

 

 

Trade and other receivables

17

22,479

35,094

Contract assets

5

427

-

Money market deposits

18

4,090

4,045

Cash and cash equivalents

18

15,847

20,930

Total current assets

 

42,843

60,069

Total assets

 

63,717

71,813

Current liabilities

 

 

 

Trade and other payables

19

(18,081)

(38,888)

Lease liabilities

21

(1,213)

-

Contract liabilities

5

(2,146)

-

Income tax payable

 

(16,753)

(14,693)

Provisions

22

(671)

(755)

Total current liabilities

 

(38,864)

(54,336)

Non-current liabilities

 

 

 

Lease liabilities

21

(11,845)

-

Provisions

22

(424)

(294)

Total non-current liabilities

 

(12,269)

(294)

Total liabilities

 

(51,133)

(54,630)


Net assets

 

 

12,584

 

17,183

 

 

 

 

Equity

 

 

 

Share capital

23

908

933

Other reserves

 

524

499

Retained earnings

 

11,152

15,751

Total equity attributable to the equity holders of the parent


 

 

12,584

 

17,183


The financial statements were approved by the Board of directors on 1 March 2019 and were signed on its behalf by:



 

 

Peter Brooks-Johnson

Director

 

 

 

 

 

Robyn Perriss

Director

 

COMPANY STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION
AS AT 31 DECEMBER 2018


 

                                                                                   


Note

2018
£000

2017
£000

Non-current assets

 

 

 

Investments

15

551,478

548,827

Deferred tax asset

16

966

2,490

Total non-current assets

 

552,444

551,317

Total assets

 

552,444

551,317

Current liabilities

 

 

 

Trade and other payables

19

(42,140)

(23,410)

Total current liabilities

 

(42,140)

(23,410)


Net assets

 

 

510,304

 

527,907

 

 

 

 

Equity

 

 

 

Share capital

23

908

933

Other reserves

 

118,374

115,698

Retained earnings

 

391,022

411,276

Total equity attributable to the equity holders of the parent

 

 

 

510,304

 

527,907


The financial statements were approved by the Board of directors on 1 March 2019 and were signed on its behalf by:


 



Peter Brooks-Johnson

Director

 

 

 

 

 

Robyn Perriss

Director


 

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS
FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2018

 

 


Note

2018
£000

2017
£000

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

Profit for the year

 

160,455

144,096

 

 

 

 

Adjustments for:

 

 

 

Depreciation charges

13

3,307

1,311

Amortisation charges

14

545

473

Financial income

8

(171)

(129)

Financial expenses

9

491

214

Loss on disposal of property, plant and equipment

13

7

20

Loss on disposal of intangible assets

14

-

203

Share-based payments

25

4,320

4,836

Income tax expense

10

37,815

34,120

 

 

 

 

Operating cash flow before changes in working capital

 

206,769

185,144

 

 

 

 

Increase in trade and other receivables

 

(5,344)

(5,154)

(Decrease)/increase in trade and other payables

 

(1,069)

3,212

Increase in provisions

22

46

689

Increase in contract assets

 

(261)

-

Increase in contract liabilities

 

287

-

 

 

 

 

Cash generated from operating activities

 

200,428

183,891

 

 

 

 

Financial expenses paid

 

(190)

(214)

Income taxes paid

 

(32,798)

(33,187)

 

 

 

 

Net cash from operating activities

 

167,440

150,490

 

 

 

 

Cash flows used in investing activities

 

 

 

Interest received on cash and cash equivalents

 

118

94

Acquisition of property, plant and equipment

13

(1,614)

(1,755)

Proceeds from disposal of property, plant and equipment

 

-

3

Acquisition of intangible assets

14

(128)

(441)

 

 

 

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(1,624)

(2,099)

 

 

 

 

Cash flows used in financing activities

 

 

 

Dividends paid

12

(54,977)

(49,611)

Purchase of own shares for cancellation

23

(113,528)

(90,809)

Purchase of own shares for share incentive plans

24

(685)

(761)

Share-related expenses

23

(778)

(757)

Payment of lease liabilities

21

(1,532)

-

Proceeds on exercise of share-based incentives

 

601

728

 

 

 

 

Net cash used in financing activities

 

(170,899)

(141,210)

 

Net (decrease)/increase in cash and cash equivalents

 

 

(5,083)

 

7,181

Cash and cash equivalents at 1 January

 

20,930

13,749


Cash and cash equivalents at 31 December


18

 

15,847

 

20,930

 

COMPANY STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS
FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2018

 

 


Note

2018
£000

2017
£000

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

Profit for the year

 

148,740

144,476

 

 

 

 

Adjustments for:

 

 

 

Dividend income

27

(152,845)

(149,551)

Financial expenses

27

471

330

Share-based payments

25

1,669

2,211

Income tax credit

 

(799)

(1,136)

 

 

 

 

Operating cash flow before changes in working capital

 

(2,764)

(3,670)

 

 

 

 

Increase in trade and other payables

19

2,764

3,670

 

 

 

 

Cash generated from operating activities

 

-

-


Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents

 

 

-

 

-

Cash and cash equivalents at 1 January

 

-

-


Cash and cash equivalents at 31 December


18

 

-

 

-

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2018





 





Note


 


Share capital £000



Own shares held

£000



Other reserves

£000


Reverse acquisition reserve

£000



Retained earnings

£000


 


Total equity 

£000

At 1 January 2017

 

955

(14,447)

339

138

21,057

8,042

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total comprehensive income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year

 

-

-

-

-

144,096

144,096

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transactions with owners recorded directly in equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share-based payments

25

-

-

-

-

4,836

4,836

Tax credit in respect of
share-based incentives recognised directly in equity



 

10

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

1,299

 

 

 

1,299

Dividends to shareholders

 

12

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(49,611)

 

(49,611)

Exercise of share-based incentives

 

24

 

-

 

2,213

 

-

 

-

 

(1,485)

 

728

Purchase of shares for SIP

 

24

 

-

 

(761)

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(761)

Cancellation of own shares

 

23

 

(22)

 

-

 

22

 

-

 

(90,809)

 

(90,809)

Share-related expenses

23

-

-

-

-

(637)

(637)


At 31 December 2017


 

 

933

 

(12,995)

 

361

 

138

 

28,746

 

17,183

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1 January 2018

 

933

(12,995)

361

138

28,746

17,183

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total comprehensive income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year

 

-

-

-

-

160,455

160,455

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transactions with owners recorded directly in equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share-based payments

25

-

-

-

-

4,320

4,320

Tax credit in respect of
share-based incentives recognised directly in equity



 

10

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

10

Dividends to shareholders

 

12

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(54,977)

 

(54,977)

Exercise of share-based incentives

 

24

 

-

 

2,542

 

-

 

-

 

(1,941)

 

601

Purchase of shares for SIP

 

24

 

-

 

(685)

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(685)

Cancellation of own shares

 

23

 

(25)

 

-

 

25

 

-

 

(113,528)

 

(113,528)

Share-related expenses

23

-

-

-

-

(795)

(795)


At 31 December 2018


 

 

908

 

(11,138)

 

386

 

138

 

22,290

 

12,584

 



 

COMPANY STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2018





 





Note


 


Share capital

£000



Own shares held
£000



Other

reserves

£000


Reverse acquisition reserve

£000



Retained earnings £000



 

Total equity

£000

At 1 January 2017

 

955

(12,156)

9,531

103,520

417,957

519,807

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total comprehensive income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year

 

-

-

-

-

144,476

144,476

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transactions with owners recorded directly in equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share-based payments

25

-

-

-

-

2,211

2,211

Tax credit in respect of
share-based incentives recognised directly in equity

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

586

 

 

 

586

Capital contribution

24

-

-

2,625

-

-

2,625

Dividends to shareholders

12

-

-

-

-

(49,611)

(49,611)

Transfer of shares to SIP

 

-

(741)

-

-

-

(741)

Exercise of share-based incentives

 

 

-

 

1,880

 

-

 

-

 

(1,880)

 

-

Cancellation of own shares

23

(22)

-

22

-

(90,809)

(90,809)

Share-related expenses

23

-

-

-

-

(637)

(637)


At 31 December 2017

 

 

933

 

(11,017)

 

12,178

 

103,520

 

422,293

 

527,907

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1 January 2018

 

933

(11,017)

12,178

103,520

422,293

527,907

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total comprehensive income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year

 

-

-

-

-

148,740

148,740

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transactions with owners recorded directly in equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share-based payments

25

-

-

-

-

1,669

1,669

Tax credit in respect of
share-based incentives recognised directly in equity



 

10

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

83

 

 

 

83

Capital contribution

24

-

-

2,651

-

-

2,651

Dividends to shareholders

12

-

-

-

-

(54,977)

(54,977)

Transfer of shares to SIP

 

-

(1,446)

-

-

-

(1,446)

Exercise of share-based incentives

 

 

 

-

 

2,438

 

-

 

-

 

(2,438)

 

-

Cancellation of own shares

23

(25)

-

25

-

(113,528)

(113,528)

Share-related expenses

23

-

-

-

-

(795)

(795)


At 31 December 2018

 

 

908

 

(10,025)

 

14,854

 

103,520

 

401,047

 

510,304

                   





NOTES FORMING PART OF THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

1 General information


Rightmove plc (the Company) is a public limited company registered in England (Company no. 6426485) domiciled in the United Kingdom (UK). The consolidated financial statements of the Company as at and for the year ended 31 December 2018 comprise the Company and its interest in its subsidiaries (together referred to as the Group).


The consolidated financial statements of the Group as at and for the year ended 31 December 2018 are available upon request to the Company Secretary from the Company's registered office at 2 Caldecotte Lake Business Park, Caldecotte Lake Drive, Caldecotte, Milton Keynes, MK7 8LE or are available on the corporate website at plc.rightmove.co.uk.


Statement of compliance
The Group and Company financial statements have been prepared and approved by the Board of directors in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) as adopted by the European Union (Adopted IFRSs).


The consolidated financial statements were authorised for issue by the Board of directors on 1 March 2019.


Basis of preparation
On publishing the Company financial statements here together with the Group financial statements, the Company is taking advantage of the exemption in s408 of the Companies Act 2006 not to present its individual statement of comprehensive income and related notes that form a part of these approved financial statements.


This is the first set of the Group's full financial statements where IFRS 9, IFRS 15 and IFRS 16 have been applied. Changes to significant accounting policies are described in Note 2.


The financial statements have been prepared on an historical cost basis.

 

Basis of consolidation
Subsidiaries are entities controlled by the Group. Control exists when the Group has existing rights that give it the ability to direct the relevant activities of an entity and has the ability to affect the returns the Group will receive as a result of its involvement with the entity. In assessing control, potential voting rights that are currently exercisable or convertible are taken into account. The financial statements of subsidiaries are included in the consolidated financial statements from the date that control commences until the date that control ceases.

 

During the year the Group incorporated two new entities, Rightmove Rent Services Limited and Rightmove Property Services Limited, with further details of the investments set out in Note 15. The results of these entities have been consolidated in these Group financial statements, with no significant impact for the financial year.


Going concern
Throughout 2018, the Group was debt free and has continued to generate significant cash and has an overall positive net asset position. The Group had cash balances of £15,847,000 at 31 December 2018 (2017: £20,930,000). The Group also had £4,090,000 of money market deposits (2017: £4,045,000). 

 

During the year £168,505,000 (2017: £140,420,000) of cash was returned to shareholders via dividends and discretionary share buy backs.

 

The Group agreed to extend a 12 month agreement with Barclays Bank plc for a £10,000,000 committed revolving loan facility on 13 February 2018. This agreement was extended for a further year on 15 January 2019 and will expire on 12 February 2020. No amount was drawn under the facility in either year.

 

The Board of directors is confident that with the existing cash resources and banking facilities in place, coupled with the strength of the underlying business model, the Group and the Company will remain cash positive and will have adequate resources to continue in operational existence for a period of 12 months from the date of signing these accounts.

 

Further information regarding the Group's business activities, together with the factors likely to affect its future development, performance and position are set out in the Strategic Report on pages 1 to 37. The financial position of the Group, its cash flows, liquidity position and borrowing facilities are described on pages 17 to 20. In addition, Note 3 to the financial statements includes the Group's objectives, policies and processes for managing its capital; its financial risk management objectives; details of its financial instruments and its exposures to credit risk and liquidity risk.

 

Capital structure - subdivision of shares
On 31 August 2018 the ordinary shares of 1 pence each in the capital of the Company were subdivided into ten ordinary shares of 0.1 pence each in the capital of the Company (the New Ordinary Shares); the purpose being to make the Company's shares more accessible to smaller investors, including Rightmove employees. Each New Ordinary Share has the rights and entitlements as before and continues to be subject to the restrictions set out in the articles of association of the Company. Group disclosures in relation to earnings per share, dividends, capital and reserves and share-based payments have been updated accordingly.

 

1 General information (continued)

 

Judgements and estimates
The preparation of the consolidated and Company financial statements in conformity with Adopted IFRSs requires management to make judgements, estimates and assumptions that affect the application of accounting policies and the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, income and expenses. The estimates and associated assumptions are based on historical experience and various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis of making judgements about carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates.


The estimates and underlying assumptions are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Revisions to accounting estimates are recognised in the period in which the estimate is revised and in any future periods, if applicable.


Management has determined that there are no significant areas of estimation uncertainty or critical judgements in applying accounting policies that have a significant effect on the amounts recognised in the consolidated and Company financial statements.

 

Alternative performance measures

In the analysis of the Group's financial performance certain information disclosed in the financial statements may be prepared on a non-GAAP basis or has been derived from amounts calculated in accordance with IFRS but is not itself an expressly permitted GAAP measure. These measures are reported in line with how financial information is analysed by management. The key alternative performance measures presented by the Group are:

 

·      Underlying operating profit - which is defined as operating profit before share-based payments and National Insurance (NI) on share-based incentives; and

·      Underlying basic earnings per share (EPS) - which is defined as profit for the year before share-based payments and National Insurance on share-based incentives, with no related adjustment for tax, divided by the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue for the year.

 

The directors believe that these alternative performance measures provide a more appropriate measure of the Group's business performance as share-based payments are a significant non-cash charge and are driven by a valuation model, and NI on share-based incentives is driven by reference to the Rightmove plc share price and so subject to volatility, rather than reflecting operational activity. The directors therefore consider underlying operating profit to be the most appropriate indicator of the performance of the business and year-on-year trends. For simplicity no adjustment for tax is made within the calculation of underlying basic EPS. The alternative performance measures are designed to increase comparability of the Group's financial performance year-on-year.

 

2 Significant accounting policies

 

Changes in significant account policies

The Group has adopted IFRS 9 Financial Instruments, IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers and IFRS 16 Leases with effect from 1 January 2018 with IFRS 15 and IFRS 16 having a material effect on the Group's financial statements.

IFRS 15 Revenue from contracts with customers

IFRS 15 establishes a comprehensive framework for determining whether, how much and when revenue is recognised. It replaced IAS 18 Revenue and related interpretations.

The Group has adopted IFRS 15 using the cumulative effect method, with the effect of initially applying this standard recognised at the date of initial application (i.e. 1 January 2018). Accordingly, the information presented for 2017 has not been restated - i.e. it is presented, as previously reported, under IAS 18 and related interpretations.


Under IAS 18 revenue was recognised either over time where there was continuing service provided by Rightmove to the customer or at the point in time when the risks and rewards of ownership transferred to the customer. Under IFRS 15 revenue is recognised when performance obligations are satisfied. For the Group the transfer of control under IFRS 15 and satisfaction of performance obligations remains consistent with the transfer of risks and rewards to the customer under IAS 18. Consequently, there were no profit or loss impacting adjustments required on application of IFRS 15.

 

On adoption of IFRS 15 the Group no longer recognises a trade receivable and a corresponding deferred income balance for amounts billed in advance for services which have not yet been provided. IFRS 15 classifies this as a contract liability, as the Group has not yet delivered the promised services to its customer, and a contract asset. IFRS 15 requires the offset of contract assets and contract liabilities within the same contract. Overall, this has resulted in no adjustment at the net asset level.

 

 

  

2 Significant accounting policies (continued)

Accounting policy for revenue in 2018

Revenue is measured based on the consideration specified in a contract with a customer and is recognised when a customer obtains control of the services.

 

Revenue principally represents the amounts receivable from customers in respect of membership of the Rightmove platforms. Rightmove also provides non-property advertising services, including Data Services and third party advertising. Revenue is recognised as services are provided to customers. Contract assets primarily relate to the Group's rights to consideration for services provided but not invoiced at the reporting date. Contract assets are transferred to receivables when invoiced and the rights have become unconditional. Contract liabilities primarily relate to the advance consideration received from Estate Agency, Overseas and Commercial customers, for which revenue is recognised as or when the services are provided.

The table below covers the different types of products and services offered to customers along with the nature and timing of satisfaction of performance obligations:

 

Type of product/service: Property Products

Nature and timing of satisfaction of performance obligations

For membership listing services customers pay monthly subscriptions to list their properties on the Rightmove platforms. Control is obtained by customers across the life of the contract as their properties are continuously listed on the different platforms. The continuous listing of properties is a distinct performance obligation for each customer. Contracts for these services are per branch location or branch equivalent for Agency and per development for New Homes. They vary in length from one month to five years, but are typically for periods of six to 12 months.

Agency, Overseas and Commercial services are typically billed in advance and New Homes developers are billed monthly in arrears.

For additional advertising products customers have the option to enhance their property listings and presence on Rightmove through additional advertising products. Each additional advertising product is a distinct performance obligation. For products that provide enhanced brand exposure or property exposure across the life of the product, control is passed to the customer over time. Revenue is only recognised at a point in time for additional advertising products where the customer does not receive the benefit until they choose to apply the product.
 

Additional advertising products are principally billed on a monthly subscription basis in line with core listing services, however certain products are billed on an individual charge basis.

Contract modifications occur on a regular basis as customers add or remove additional advertising products from their contracts. Each contract modification is treated as a separate performance obligation. Following a contract modification, the customer is billed in line with the delivery of the remaining performance obligations.

A receivable is recognised when the Group's right to consideration is only conditional on the passage of time.

Discounted services may be offered to customers as part of membership or package offers.

Type of product/service: Non-property products

Nature and timing of satisfaction of performance obligations

Data Services revenue relates to fees generated for data and valuation services under a variety of contractual arrangements, with each service being a separate performance obligation. Control is obtained by customers either across the life of the contract where customers are licensed to use Rightmove's property tools or at a point in time when a one-off data service is provided. Discounted services may be offered to customers and are taken into consideration in the transaction price for each performance obligation.

Third party advertising revenue represents amounts paid in respect of non-property advertising on the Rightmove platforms and control is obtained by customers across the life of the contract as their advertising is displayed on the different platforms. Some of the Group's arrangements with third parties need to be considered to determine if the Group acts as a principal or an agent in providing the services to the customer. On evaluation of a number of indicators it is appropriate for the Group to be treated as the agent so revenue is recognised at a net amount reflecting the margin earned.

A receivable is recognised only when the Group's right to consideration is only conditional on the passage of time.

 

 

2 Significant accounting policies (continued)

Accounting policy for revenue in 2017

Revenue principally represents the amounts receivable from customers in respect of membership of the Rightmove platforms. Agency, New Homes, Overseas and Commercial revenue comprises subscriptions for core listing fees and amounts paid for additional advertising products. Contracts for these services are per branch location or branch equivalent for Agency and per development for New Homes. They vary in length from one month to five years, but are typically for periods of six to 12 months. Revenue is recognised over the period of the contract or as advertising products are used. Membership offers take place from time to time and may include discounted products and free periods. These are recognised on a monthly basis over the contract term.

 

Agency, Overseas and Commercial services are typically billed in advance with revenue deferred until the service commencement date. New Homes developers are billed monthly in arrears. Where invoices are raised on other than a monthly basis, the amounts are recognised as deferred or accrued revenue and released to the profit or loss on a monthly basis in line with the provision of services as stipulated in the contract terms.

 

Data Services revenue relates to fees generated for data and valuation services under a variety of contractual arrangements. Revenue is recognised when the service has been provided. Third party advertising revenue represents amounts paid in respect of non-property advertising on the Rightmove platforms and is recognised in the month in which the service is provided. Data Services, third party advertising and Consumer Services revenue is typically billed in arrears.

 

IFRS 16 Leases

 

IFRS 16 Leases was issued in January 2016, and was endorsed by the EU in 2017. IFRS 16 replaces existing leases guidance including IAS 17 Leases, IFRIC 4 Determining whether an Arrangement contains a Lease, SIC-15 Operating Leases-Incentives and SIC-27 Evaluating the Substance of Transactions Involving the Legal Form of a Lease. The standard is effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019. The Group has decided to early adopt this standard using the modified retrospective approach with a date of initial application to the Group of 1 January 2018. Comparative information has not been restated and continues to be reported under IAS 17.

 

The adoption of IFRS 16 had a material impact on the Group's financial statements with the recognition of new right of use assets and lease liabilities on the Group's Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. The nature of expenses related to those leases has also changed as the straight-line operating lease expense has been replaced with a depreciation charge for right of use assets and interest expense on lease liabilities. On adoption there was no impact to the opening equity position.

 

Accounting policy for leases in 2018

At inception of a contract, the Group assesses whether or not a contract is, or contains, a lease. A contract is, or contains, a lease if the contract conveys the right to control the use of an identified asset for a period of time in exchange for consideration. For contracts entered into before 1 January 2018, the Group determined whether the arrangement was or contained a lease based on the assessment of whether fulfilment of the arrangement was dependent on the use of a specific asset and the arrangement had conveyed a right to use the asset.

 

When a lease is recognised in a contract the Group recognises a right of use asset and a lease liability at the lease commencement date.

 

The right of use asset is initially measured at cost, which comprises the initial amount of the lease liability adjusted for any lease prepayments made at or before the commencement date, plus any initial direct costs incurred and an estimate of costs to dismantle and remove the underlying asset or to restore the underlying asset or the site on which it is located, less any lease incentives received. The right of use asset is subsequently depreciated using the straight-line method from the commencement date to the earlier of the end of the useful life of the right of use asset or the end of the lease term. The estimated useful lives of right of use assets are determined on the same basis as those of property, plant and equipment. In addition, the right of use asset is periodically reduced by impairment losses, if any, and adjusted for certain re-measurements of the lease liability.

 

The lease liability is initially measured at the present value of the lease payments that are not paid at the commencement date, discounted using the interest rate implicit in the lease or, if that rate cannot be readily determined, the Group's incremental borrowing rate. The weighted average incremental borrowing rate used to measure the lease liability at initial application was 2.3%. The lease liability is measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method. It is re-measured when there is a change in future lease payments arising from a change in an index or rate, or if the Group changes its assessment of whether it will exercise a purchase, extension or termination option.

 

The Group presents right of use assets in property, plant and equipment and leased liabilities in lease liabilities in the Statement of Financial Position.

 

The Group has elected not to recognise right of use assets and lease liabilities for short-term leases of machinery that have a lease term of 12 months or less and leases of low-value assets, including IT equipment. The Group recognises the lease payments associated with these leases as an expense on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

 

 

2 Significant accounting policies (continued)

 

Accounting policy for leases in 2017

Operating lease rentals are charged to profit or loss on a straight-line basis over the period of the lease. The value of any lease

incentive received, for example a rent-free period, is deferred and released on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

 

IFRS 9 Financial instruments

 

IFRS 9 sets out requirements for recognising and measuring financial assets, financial liabilities and some contracts to buy or sell non-financial items. This standard replaces IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement. IFRS 9 is effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018 and simplifies the classification of financial assets for measurement purposes. Comparative information has not been restated and continues to be reported under IAS 39.

 

There is no impact on the profit or loss or statement of financial position from the adoption of IFRS 9.

 

Accounting policy for financial instruments in 2018

IFRS 9 eliminates the previous IAS 39 category for financial assets of loans and receivables. Under IFRS 9, on initial recognition, a financial asset is classified as measured at: amortised cost, fair value through profit or loss or fair value through other comprehensive income.
 

A financial asset is measured at amortised cost if it meets both of the following conditions: it is held within a business model whose objective is to hold assets to collect contractual cash flows; and its contractual terms give rise on specified dates to cash flows that are solely payments of principal and interest on the principal amount outstanding. Under IFRS 9 trade receivables, without a significant financing component, are classified and held at amortised cost, being initially measured at the transaction price and subsequently measured at amortised cost less any impairment loss.

 

The Group has elected to measure loss allowances for trade receivables and contract assets at an amount equal to lifetime expected credit losses. Expected credit losses are a probability-weighted estimate of credit losses. Credit losses are measured as the present value of all cash shortfalls (i.e. the difference between the cash flows due to the entity in accordance with the contract and the cash flows that the Group expects to receive).

 

When determining whether the credit risk of a financial asset has increased significantly since initial recognition and when estimating expected credit losses, the Group considers reasonable and supportable information that is relevant and available without undue cost or effort. This includes both quantitative and qualitative information and analysis, based on the Group's historical experience and informed credit assessment and including forward looking information. The Group performs the calculation of expected credit losses separately for each customer group.

The Group assumes that the credit risk on a financial asset has increased significantly if it is more than 30 days past due. The Group assesses whether a financial asset is in default on a case by case basis when it becomes probable that the customer is unlikely to pay its credit obligations. The gross carrying amount of a financial asset is written off when the Group has no reasonable expectations of recovering a financial asset in its entirety or a portion thereof. For all customers, the Group individually makes an assessment with respect to the timing and amount of write-off based on whether there is a reasonable expectation of recovery. The Group expects no significant recovery from the amount written off. However, financial assets that are written off could still be subject to enforcement activities in order to comply with the Group's procedures for recovery of amounts due.

At each reporting date, the Group assesses whether financial assets carried at amortised cost are credit-impaired. A financial asset is 'credit-impaired' when one or more events that have a detrimental impact on the estimated future cash flows of the financial asset have occurred.

 

The following table provides information about the exposure to credit risk and expected credit losses for trade receivables as at 1 January 2018.

 

 

 

Weighted-average loss rate

Gross carrying amount

£000

 

Loss allowance

£000

 

 

Credit-impaired

Current

0.0%

10,055

(4)

No

Past due 1 - 30 days

3.7%

2,750

(101)

No

Past due 31 - 60 days

18.8%

659

(124)

No

Past due 61 - 90 days

55.4%

336

(186)

No

More than 91 days past due

16.8%

286

(48)

No

 

 

14,086

(463)

 

 

The loss allowance as a percentage of gross carrying amount within the category 61-90 days is higher than other categories due to a specific provision for one customer.

 

IFRS 9 largely retains the existing requirements in IAS 39 for the classification and measurement of financial liabilities. The adoption of IFRS 9 has not had a significant effect on the Group's accounting policies related to financial liabilities.

 

2 Significant accounting policies (continued)

 

Accounting policy for financial instruments in 2017

Trade receivables do not carry any interest and are initially recognised at fair value and subsequently measured at amortised cost less any impairment loss. A provision for impairment of trade receivables is established when there is objective evidence that the Group will not be able to collect all amounts due according to the receivables' original terms.

 

Trade payables are not interest bearing and are initially recognised at fair value and subsequently measured at amortised cost. Trade payables are classified as current liabilities unless the Group has an unconditional right to defer settlement of the liability for at least 12 months after the reporting date.

 

Money market deposits are initially recorded at fair value and subsequently measured at amortised cost. They represent deposits with a maturity of over three months.

 

Inter-group balances and transactions, and any unrealised income and expenses arising from inter-group transactions, are eliminated in preparing the consolidated financial statements.

 

Impact of adoption of IFRS 9, 15 and 16 on the financial statements

The following statements summarise the impacts of adopting IFRS 15 and IFRS 16 on the Group's Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income, Consolidated Statement of Financial Position and its Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows as at and for the year ended 31 December 2018.  Adoption of IFRS 9 had no impact on any of the financial statements and adoption of IFRS 15 had no impact on the Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income.

 

Impact on the consolidated statement of comprehensive income

 

 

 

 

 

Year ended 31 December 2018

£000

 

Note

As reported

IFRS 16 adjustments

Amounts without adoption

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

4,5

267,821

-

267,821

Administrative expenses

 

(69,231)

(143)

(69,374)

Underlying operating profit

 

203,329

(143)

203,186

Share-based payments

25

(4,320)

-

(4,320)

NI on share-based incentives

25

(419)

-

(419)

 

 

 

 

 

Operating profit

 

198,590

(143)

198,447

Financial income

8

171

-

171

Financial expenses

9

(491)

302

(189)

Net financial expenses

 

(320)

302

(18)

 

 

 

 

 

Profit before tax

 

198,270

159

198,429

Income tax expense

10

(37,815)

(28)

(37,843)

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year being total comprehensive income

 

 

160,455

 

131

 

160,586

 

 

 

 

 

Attributable to:

 

 

 

 

Equity holders of the Parent

 

160,455

131

160,586

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2   Significant accounting policies (continued)

 

Impact on the consolidated statement of financial position

 

 

31 December 2018

£000

 

 

Note

 

 

As reported

 

 

IFRS 15

 

 

IFRS 16

 

Amounts without adoption

Non-current assets

 

 

 

 

 

Property, plant and equipment

 

13

 

15,203

 

-

 

(12,331)

 

2,872

Intangible assets

14

2,873

-

-

2,873

Deferred tax assets

16

2,798

-

(28)

2,770

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total non-current assets

 

20,874

-

(12,359)

8,515

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current assets

 

 

 

 

 

Trade and other receivables

17

22,479

17,961

329

40,769

Contract assets

5

427

(427)

-

-

Money market deposits

18

4,090

-

-

4,090

Cash and cash equivalents

18

15,847

-

-

15,847

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total current assets

 

42,843

17,534

329

60,706

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

63,717

17,534

(12,030)

69,221

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Trade and other payables

19

(18,081)

(19,680)

(897)

(38,658)

Lease liabilities

21

(1,213)

-

1,213

-

Contract liabilities

5

(2,146)

2,146

-

-

Income tax payable

 

 

 

(16,753)

-

-

(16,753)

)(671)

Provisions

22

(671)

-

-

(671)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total current liabilities

 

(38,864)

(17,534)

316

(56,082)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Lease liabilities

21

(11,845)

-

11,845

-

Provisions

22

(424)

-

-

(424)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total non-current liabilities

 

(12,269)

-

11,845

(424)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total liabilities

 

(51,133)

(17,534)

12,161

(56,506)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net assets

 

12,584

-

131

12,715

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity

 

 

 

 

 

Share capital

23

908

-

-

908

Other reserves

 

524

-

-

524

Retained earnings

 

11,152

-

131

11,283

Total equity attributable to the equity holders of the Parent


 

 

 

12,584

 

 

-

 

 

131

 

 

12,715

 

 

 

 

2   Significant accounting policies (continued)

 

Impact on the consolidated statement of cash flows

 

Year ended 31 December 2018

£000

 

 

Note

 

 

As reported

 

 

IFRS 15

 

 

IFRS 16

Amounts without adoption

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year

 

160,455

-

131

160,586

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjustments for:

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation charges

13

3,307

-

(1,863)

1,444

Amortisation charges

14

545

-

-

545

Financial income

8

(171)

-

-

(171)

Financial expenses

9

491

-

(302)

189

Loss on disposal of property, plant and equipment

13

7

-

-

7

Share-based payments

25

4,320

-

-

4,320

Income tax expense

10

37,815

-

28

37,843

Operating cash flow before changes in working capital

 

 

206,769

 

-

 

(2,006)

 

204,763

 

 

 

 

 

 

Increase in trade and other receivables

 

(5,344)

(261)

(61)

(5,666)

(Decrease)/increase in trade and other payables

 

(1,069)

287

535

(247)

Increase in provisions

22

46

-

-

46

(Increase)/decrease in contract assets

5

(261)

261

-

-

Increase/(Decrease)in contract liabilities

5

287

(287)

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash generated from operating activities

 

200,428

-

(1,532)

198,896

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial expenses paid

 

(190)

-

-

(190)

Income taxes paid

 

(32,798)

-

-

(32,798)


Net cash from operating activities

 

 

167,440

 

-

 

(1,532)

 

165,908

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from investing activities

 

 

 

 

 

Interest received

 

118

-

-

118

Acquisition of property, plant and equipment

13

(1,614)

-

-

(1,614)

Proceeds on disposal of property, plant and equipment

 

13

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

Acquisition of intangible assets

14

(128)

-

-

(128)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(1,624)

-

-

(1,624)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

 

 

 

Dividends paid

12

(54,977)

-

-

(54,977)