By Tommy Swindle. Companies have varying corporate cultures and views on how best to administer their company’s equity compensation plans. One of the biggest keys to success is active communication. In this blog, we are going to focus on cross-department communications.
For most companies, the Stock Plan Administrator finds themselves at the hub of the communication wagon wheel. Many times they are trying to distribute information to the different groups. These different groups: finance, payroll, legal, service providers/brokers, etc., represent the spokes on the wagon wheel.
In many ways, this Stock Plan Administrator lead model works well. However, communication that goes both ways brings the greatest benefit for the team. The wagon wheel hub helps connect the spokes to the outer felloes. Each part of the wagon wheel must work together in order for the wheel to function properly. The Stock Plan Administrator can use their role to help bring different departments together. This allows the groups to work together and help each other.
For example, the plan design and compensation committees are considering issuing a new type of performance award in the future, and this hybrid performance award will have both market-based and performance based metrics.
This would be a good time to bring in the finance team to discuss the best way to structure the award as the finance team will need to be able to track the expense for the market-based portion of the award differently from the performance based portion. Another tip, work with your service provider to see if they have any suggestions on best practices to setup and administer this new type of award. Discuss with the legal department to determine how to best draft new grant agreements that will also help your employee’s better understand how the new award can benefit them.
There are so many other types of events that can occur throughout the year where bringing a few groups together would be beneficial. Annual grant issuance, annual restricted stock vesting, special termination agreement for an executive, large reduction in force, acquisition of another company, changing payroll providers, issuing awards to participants in new countries like China, France, Israel, or Belgium, and many others.
In closing, I hope this helped ignite some ideas on how you can start to bring different departments together to help build a solid partnership and share in the benefits of strong stock plan communication.
Tommy Swindle manages the Financial Reporting Team at UBS Equity Plan Advisory Services (EPAS). The team is responsible for helping companies with their financial reporting needs while using efficient and flexible reporting tools offered at UBS Financial Services, Inc. Tommy started his career in equity compensation in 2006 as a Stock Plan Administrator. He enjoys working with companies to share best practices. He is a Certified Equity Professional (CEP) and Series 6, 63 and 66 registered. Tommy holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Middle Tennessee State University.