Key Findings From E*TRADE's Annual Stock Plan Participant Survey

Here are the key findings from the E*TRADE 2019 survey of stock plan participants. Stock plan benefits drive participants’ perception of ownership and recognition: 59% say "my stock plan provides me with a sense of ownership in the company" 59% believe "My contributions to my company’s performance are acknowledged through the equity grants I receive" Participants require assistance with understanding how their stock plan benefits work and potential tax implications: 59% understand their vesting schedule 53% understand how their stock...

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How to Choose From the Six Ways to Price Your Services

by Patrick Brewer, CPA, CFA How your firm prices its services is about more than just boosting profit margins. The right fee structure is vital to client satisfaction and your long-term success. Fees have always been a hot topic in this industry. However, with trading commissions getting slashed to zero, the rise of passive managers and price pressures across the board, many advisors are rethinking the way they price their services. Even if your firm’s current fee structure seems ideal,...

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Survey Says Stock Plan Participants Need Advisor Assistance

According to new research from Schwab Stock Plan Services, the average vested value of U.S. workers’ equity compensation is $97,711 and the average total value of their equity compensation is $149,835. The study, which examines the attitudes and behaviors of 1,000 equity compensation plan participants who currently receive employee stock options or restricted stock awards and/or participate in employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs), finds that 59% of respondents have NOT exercised or sold at least some of their equity compensation...

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Mistakes to Avoid When Selling to Companies

Over the years of working with financial advisors who attempt to market their client services to companies, we have seen four common mistakes that are costing them business and referrals.  If you want to get your foot in the door at companies to secure business with their employees, avoid the following mistakes when you meet with the HR department. Mistake # 1: Trying to sell yourself and your unique expertise Most financial advisors feel compelled to tell a prospect company a great deal about themselves and their...

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Marketing More Effectively to Corporate Executives

By Jill Addison You’ve chosen to focus on corporate executive clients as a niche in your financial advisory practice. Great! But here’s the biggest mistake so many advisors make: they don’t put this niche focus and specialty front and center in their marketing. Having a niche is one of the biggest keys to growing a successful practice. But if no one knows about your niche, the power of it is lost. That’s where marketing comes in. You must platform your...

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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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