How Does Your Stock Plan Team Stack Up?

More than 200 public and private companies recently participated in our stock plan administration benchmark survey. From technology providers to healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, there was a wide range of participation across industries and equity plan design. Here is what we found to be true around how teams are spending their time, weaknesses and strengths in regards to technical skills, and a few ideas on how you can improve processes.

SEC Accepts 2016 Financial Reporting Taxonomy

In a recent press release, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) announced that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has officially accepted the 2016 GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy. The 2016 Taxonomy contains updates for accounting standards and other improvements to the official taxonomy that was previously used by SEC issuers. In addition to the release of the 2016 Taxonomy, the FASB has also issued several implementation and style guides related to the new taxonomy.

Putting an End to Disconnected Data

The modern finance organization is constantly being challenged to increase stakeholder transparency and visibility, provide information faster and more reliably, and decrease risk – all while cutting down on the time it takes to distribute disclosure documents that complete the financial close process. Peak defined! Key to this process? Data. Lots of data. Here are just a few reasons why the current process is fraught with peril.

Requirements of a 10b5-1 Trading Plan

During our recent thought leadership webinar, 10b5-1 Survey Results: What do They Tell Us?, Christine Cognetti McCasland, Executive Director within Morgan Stanley’s Corporate Equity Solutions unit, and Mike Andresino, Partner at Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP, reviewed results from a joint survey conducted by Morgan Stanley and the NASPP. During the presentation, McCasland and Andresino laid out key requirements of a 10b5-1 plan. We’ve recapped them for you.

Filed Your 10-K? Do This Now!

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely gotten your 10-K out the door. Congratulations! After you actually stand up from your chair, unchain your ankles from your desk and get re-acquainted with your family, there are a few things you want to do while you have the year-end close process and experience fresh in your mind. Reflection is key, and before you know it the Q will be sneaking up on you.

How Stock Plan Administrators Can Communicate Potential Dividend Equivalent Income

Stock options have been granted to executives at a regional airline for many years. After losing two senior executives to competitors recently, the airline’s board decided to award performance shares in order to provide current year income on vested shares through dividend equivalents. Dividend equivalents are payments of cash or additional company stock an executive receives after the units vest. While stock options do not pay dividends, dividend equivalents can offer executives the flexibility to increase or supplement their income. This example explains the benefits and how they work.

Tax Holding Periods and Leap Year

Leap year can make things complicated. For example, if you use a daily accrual rate for some purpose related to stock compensation, such as calculating a pro-rata payout, a tax allocation for a mobile employee, or expense accruals, you have to remember to add a day to your calculation once every four years. Personally, I think it would be easier if we handled leap year the same way we handle the transition from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time: everyone just set their calendar back 24 hours. Rather than doing this on the last day of February, I think it would be best to do it on the last Sunday in February, so that the “fall back” always occurs on a weekend.