The Do's and Don'ts for Engaging Executives with Equity Compensation

Financial advisors contact me regularly to ask for ideas on how to grow their practices by acquiring corporate executive clients.  Having been in the equity compensation guidance space for 20 years I've seen what works and what doesn't.  Here are some do's and don'ts for pursuing this market: Do have a few questions and an elevator pitch memorized for whenever you meet an executive that receives equity compensation (i.e. employee stock options and restricted stock/units).  Read this article on the Four Questions to Ask...

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4 Questions to Ask Clients with Equity Compensation

Employees with equity compensation represent a great opportunity for advisors to generate new and ongoing business.  This is because the market is largely under served and highly lucrative.  Of the approximately 8+ million employees who receive equity compensation awards, only a small percentage utilize professional assistance.  So when financial advisors cross paths with these prospects it's important to be prepared to seize the opportunity.  Here are 4 questions to ask after meeting someone who works for a company that provides equity compensation: "What type(s) of...

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Incentive Stock Option (ISO) Planning Guidelines

According to the NASPP, Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) are now rarely granted to employees of publicly traded companies, yet they are still popular with pre-IPO private companies. Consequently, advisors may encounter clients or prospects with ISOs that want to take advantage of the lower Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) tax rates on these grants and optimizing for tax efficiency. Financial advisors often turn to us for an easy way to deal with Incentive Stock Options. Unfortunately, there is no simple way...

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Setting Better Employee Stock Option Price Targets

If you’re a financial advisor with clients or prospects that receive stock options from their employers, it can be like falling into a well and finding a bag of money at the bottom.  These individuals represent a fantastic long-term business opportunity; but there’s a catch, you need to be able to help them determine “why” and “when” they should exercise, sell and diversify. Here's 3 quick lessons on what advisors need to explain to their clients to make timely and...

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Insight Ratio: The Stock Option Exercise Secret

Determining the right time to exercise and sell  one's employee stock options is the key to maximizing the value of this benefit. Stock options are granted at a fixed grant price that must be exercised after vesting and prior to the expiration date to realize their value. During the time between vesting and expiration (usually 10 years after the grant date) the current stock price for publicly traded companies will generally fluctuate significantly and no one can predict the peaks...

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Age, Gender, and Stock Plan Participant Attitudes

As one of the first surveys to report statistics by gender as well as age, the recently released biennial Fidelity Stock Plan Services Participant Survey highlights a unique opportunity for advisors to provide equity compensation guidance and education to not one, but two niche groups. Women While 66% of men reported understanding their stock plans “very well,” only 48% of women reported the same. When asked if they were aware of the tax implications of selling the stock in their...

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Maximizing Restricted Stock Awards

Financial advisor and StockOpter user Megan Gorman in her Forbes article How A Restricted Stock Strategy Can Maximize Your Wealth has some great tips for restricted stock recipients. Megan explains "Restricted stock is simply shares issued to an employee that cannot be transferred to them until certain conditions have been met. These conditions can be time- or performance-based." However she continues, "while restricted stock creates great upside potential, if employees do not know how to manage the risks, they might...

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Trends in Private Company Stock Plans and How They Effect Advisors

According to a recent post by Barbra Baksa of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals, a soon to be released NASPP’s survey on equity compensation at private companies found the following five trends: #1: Stock options are the equity vehicle of choice, with 74% of respondents granting them. #2: Private companies are committed to ISOs, with close to 60% of private companies that offer stock options granting them. #3: For most private companies, when deciding whom to grant to,...

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Market Volatility and Employee Stock Option Values

The stock market has been on a roller coaster over the last few months, but in general the S&P 500 index is still near its all time high. Consequently, most employee stock options granted in the last ten years are likely to be significantly "In-the-Money" (current stock price above the grant price) as illustrated by the above chart. This chart shows the S&P 500 over the past decade. It can be used as a general representation of the prices at...

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Black-Scholes v. Baroni-Adesi for Valuing Employee Stock Options

There are a variety of ways to calculate the Full Option Value (FOV) of employee stock options. The two most popular and relevant methodologies are Black-Scholes Merton and Baroni-Adesi Whaley. Detailed white papers on these methodologies can be found at the previous links, but the objective of this article is to simplify these complex formulas and explain the differences. .StockOpter.com can use either of these methodologies to calculate Full Option Value and Time Value. To change the methodology used by...

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