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Watch For Noncompetes And Other Restrictive Covenants In Stock Grant Agreements

Your stock grant agreement can have a provision that will not only claw back your gains if you leave to work for a competitor but also restrain you from taking a job at that company. As this article explains, these types of provisions, called restrictive covenants, can lurk in grant agreements for stock options, restricted stock, and performance shares.

Your Stock Grants May Come With Strings Attached This is premium content

UPDATES! The days of pocketing stock grant gains, leaving the company, and moving to a direct competitor may be over. Your company may put noncompete forfeiture provisions in your equity awards.

Taking An Overseas Assignment: Stock Compensation For Internationally Mobile Employees (Part 1) This is premium content

Podcast included! Taxation for internationally mobile employees can be extremely complex. Part 1 introduces the key cross-border topics you must know about equity compensation, including the sourcing and apportioning of income.
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Taking An Overseas Assignment: Stock Compensation For Internationally Mobile Employees (Part 2) This is premium content

Podcast included! Taxation for internationally mobile employees can be extremely complex. Part 2 looks at specific scenarios, withholding taxes, and tax equalization.

Strategies For Negotiating A Compensation Package In Down Markets This is premium content

A down market provides ideal circumstances for negotiating a larger stake of equity compensation as part of your pay package. With companies looking to conserve cash and find effective ways to recruit, retain, and motivate executives and key employees, your interest in this type of compensation may be well received. This article explores the possibilities you may want to consider if this opportunity arises.

Negotiating And Structuring Your Stock Compensation (Part 1): Key Documents This is premium content

Podcast included! You may find a gap between what you expect from your equity compensation and what you receive. Often the problem stems from the complexity of the related documents and rules. Learn about them, and understand why you must focus on conflicting or inconsistent provisions.

Negotiating And Structuring Your Stock Compensation (Part 2): Private Companies From Startup To IPO/M&A This is premium content

Podcast included! Part 1 looked at the problems of conflicting or inconsistent provisions among different documents. Part 2 discusses which existing documents and rules nonfounder executives must consider when negotiating for equity compensation during the early (pre-public) stages of a company's development and growth.

What Are My Stock Options Worth? This is premium content

Your company just gave you a stock option grant, or your existing options are underwater. You wonder: "What are my stock options worth? Are they worth anything at all?" Learn about different valuation methods, including Black-Scholes.

Stock Grant Sizes In Pre-IPO Tech Companies

Particularly in high-tech startup companies, it is more important to know what percentage of the company a stock option grant represents than how many shares you get.


Is it better to be granted nonqualified stock options (NQSOs) or incentive stock options (ISOs)?

First, you may be eligible to receive only NQSOs, so read the FAQs on the requirements of ISOs...

What should I do if I feel that I have been granted too few options and/or RSUs?

If you are convinced that you have been treated unfairly, speak to the...

NEW! My company's recruiter promised me a stock grant at hire, but I was mistakenly left off the list of employees getting equity awards that the board needed to approve. How can my company fix the error? This is premium content

Your company needs to get the omitted grant approved under the process it uses, whether for stock options or restricted stock/RSUs. For stock options, your company cannot...
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How much are my options worth at grant? This is premium content

Stock options often cannot be exercised until they are vested, and then they are profitable only after...

What guidelines do employers use to determine how many stock options or restricted shares to grant? This is premium content

Guidelines about grant sizes vary among industries and corporate peer groups. Most companies...

How are the dates of stock grants set, and when are grants made? This is premium content

Amid concerns about the backdating and springloading of stock options, companies have tightened their procedures for approving stock grants and their timing. After grants are properly approved, companies are now...

Can my employer give me a choice of stock options, restricted stock, or cash? This is premium content

Your company's flexibility depends on economic conditions, the stage of its development, trends in your industry, and the limitations in the company's stock plans. Any choice offered can depend on whether it is a negotiated grant at hire, an alternative to a cash bonus, or a new approach for your company's equity grants. Employee-choice programs are a nascent trend, with companies such as...

Does service with a previous employer ever count toward vesting? This is premium content

Not usually. An exception would occur if your...

Can I have the exercise price of a new stock option grant lowered or backdated? What is the controversy over backdating? This is premium content

Backdating is a dangerous practice. Courts have imposed prison sentences on corporate executives found guilty of backdating violations. For good reasons, companies now avoid making option grants that are based on the stock price of any date earlier than the date of grant...

How have the stock-market volatility and economic fluctuations of recent years changed stock grant practices?

While it is too early to know exactly how stock grant practices may change because of impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, there are some lessons from what happened in past big market drops...

UPDATES! How does a clawback work to take away gains from my equity compensation?

A clawback provision can appear in your employment agreement, stock grant agreement, or stock plan. If it is triggered, you must surrender to the company...

How common are clawback provisions? Any survey data about their use? This is premium content

Clawback forfeiture provisions usually do not appear in stock plans. Typically, they are included in stock grant agreements, which tend to be not publicly available. This makes data on clawbacks hard to find. However, a survey...

What is the tax impact of having a clawback in my grant? What if my company claws back the gains? This is premium content

The tax treatment that applies when you have a clawback provision or when a clawback is enforced is an evolving area that is gradually being clarified...

When I take an international assignment, can taxes on my stock compensation be equalized? This is premium content

At some companies, international assignments are often accompanied by what is commonly called an "equalization package." To give you an incentive to accept the international assignment, the company agrees to...

How do I know whether I am being granted my fair share of stock options or RSUs? Are grant guidelines publicly available so that I can compare? This is premium content

Unless you are a senior executive of a public company who can compare grants at peer companies by looking at their proxy statements, or unless your company is willing to open its option records to you, you may never know whether you and your co-workers have been treated equally...
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