The NASPP Blog

August 22, 2017

Say Yes to the Vest

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Maria Acevedo-Pichardo of AST Equity Plan Solutions, who will lead the session “Say Yes to the Vest.”  Here is what Maria had to say:

NASPP: Why is vesting of RSU awards a timely topic now?

Maria: Vesting…we know it is coming and there should be no surprises when the date arrives. However, we all know there are tiny wrinkles that show up on the event date…just like a wedding crasher.

With the upcoming changes to the trading settlement cycle is it extremely important for issuers to tighten controls around vesting procedures when a sale is involved in the vesting process.

Also, there has been some confusion around what the ASC 718 share withholding rules allow participants and issuers to do at the time of vesting as it relates to the tax rates to apply.

NASPP: What is one best practice companies should implement for their vesting events?

Maria: Prepare, prepare, prepare…

Update tax rates and earnings on the day leading to the event. This will prevent—as much as possible—post vesting corrections that could potentially delay settlement and/or the delivery of shares.

NASPP: Do you have any vesting date horror stories?

Maria: Vesting of a large broad-based Plan prior to the age of online transactions where the participants had to fax the trade request for the shares. The morning of the vesting day, as we got into the office there was paper everywhere and the fax machine was waiting to be fed more paper. It took many refills to print all the paper requests… and then trying to reconcile all the papers received was a challenge to say the least.

NASPP: What is your superpower?

Maria: Being a mom…that has to be on the list 🙂

Don’t miss Maria’s session “Say Yes to the Vest” session at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

Tags: ,

August 17, 2017

Take a Trip with TripAdvisor: A Journey of Discovery

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Bob Grayson of Tapestry Compliance, who will lead the session “Take a Trip with TripAdvisor: A Journey of Discovery.”  Here is what Bob had to say:

NASPP: Why do you feel strongly about global stock plan compliance?

Bob: Any company which operates an incentive plan outside its own home jurisdiction needs to avoid risks overseas.  There are lots of potential risks—some relate to tax but others relate to a whole range of other regulations—for example foreign exchange; securities law; data protection and labor law.  Companies want to manage their risk and they want to do it in an efficient, value for money way.  I feel strongly that companies need advice which makes the process as simple as possible and which reduces risk at a reasonable cost.

NASPP: What is a common mistake companies make with their global stock plans and how can they avoid this?

Bob: The most common mistake companies make is to assume that if they act in accordance with US practice then that will work in other countries.  Sometimes it will—but sometimes it won’t!  Although all countries in the world have companies and incentive plans there are lots of things which are different—in some countries you can “hire and fire” in other countries you can’t.  In some countries you have to withhold—in some counties you don’t.  Mistakes are usually made because your assumption is wrong.  Companies need to systematically check their assumptions so that they comply with all tax and regulatory rules globally.

NASPP: Is administering a global stock plan as impossible as it looks?

Bob: Operating a global plan may look like an impossible task—there is so much information and so many differences between countries.  However—don’t worry!  Companies have been doing global plans since about 1980—so we are very experienced and know which are the important points.  A lot of the advice is customized on our databases so that it is presented in a cost-effective and efficient way.  Of course there are still difficulties—but, with the right advice, you can do it!

NASPP: What is your superpower?

Bob: Keeping it short and simple!

However complicated a problem is I believe it can be explained in less than a page.  Clients are not generally interested in all the detail—they want sound, clear, risk based advice based on experience.  We can provide all the detail if you want it—but we can also give you a clear and simple choice and will support you all the way!

Don’t miss Bob’s session “Take a Trip with TripAdvisor: A Journey of Discovery” at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

Tags: ,

August 16, 2017

Financial Reporting & Accounting Playbook: Winning Plays from the Pros

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Kevin Hassan of PwC, who will lead the session “Financial Reporting & Accounting Playbook: Winning Plays from the Pros.”  Here is what Kevin had to say:

NASPP: Why do NASPP Conference attendees need a financial and accounting playbook?

Kevin: This is something that all companies that supply equity compensation to employees need. Auditors place keen focus on the compensation programs based on the scrutiny from regulators and institution investors. We will help guide a company through the process to ease any concerns as well as potential problems with the process.

NASPP: What is one best practice companies should implement?

Kevin: When issuing equity, ensure that all parts of the company (tax, HR, legal, plan administration, accounting/finance, local management) are active participants in the process to ensure accuracy as well as no surprises.

NASPP: What is the silver lining here?

Kevin: You can correct some potential flaws in your existing process and help with your upcoming audit season.

NASPP: What is your superpower?

Kevin: None!

Don’t miss Kevin’s session “Financial Reporting & Accounting Playbook: Winning Plays from the Pros” session at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

Tags: ,

August 15, 2017

Valuation 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Equity Valuation

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Carly Sanfilipo of Aon, who will lead the session “Valuation 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Equity Valuation.”  Here is what Carly had to say:

NASPP: Why is equity valuation particularly timely right now?

Carly: Equity valuation is eternally timely! There are always new people that join our industry. And even if you’re an industry veteran, it’s wise to periodically review your valuation practices to ensure that they are still applicable. What was appropriate for your company three years ago may no longer be!

NASPP: What is a common mistake companies make when valuing awards and how can they avoid this?

Carly: I often see companies blindly use their own historical data to calculate their expected life assumption. There are many reasons why past behavior may not be indicative of future expectations. You should always analyze your data with this in mind. Have plan provisions changed? Have these historical options spent time both in-the-money and underwater? Has your optionee population changed? How have RIFs affected behavior? And the list goes on…

NASPP: What is an innovative solution you’ve seen to address a challenge in valuing equity awards?

Carly: When newly public companies rely on peer volatility, it is wise to prepare for when you will use your own historical or implied volatility. One elegant solution: time-weight peer volatility and your own historical volatility. Not only does this naturally phase out your reliance on peers, but it also avoids the inevitable audit question of “why are you changing methods NOW?”

NASPP: What is your favorite memory from a past NASPP Conference?

Carly: Hands down, pig races at the Aon booth in the exhibitor hall. For some reason, witnessing dozens of grown adults joyfully shout at fluorescent mechanical stuffed animals never gets old. Why does Aon do pig races, you may wonder? Just ask someone wearing an Aon jersey!

Don’t miss Carly’s session “Valuation 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Equity Valuation” session at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

Tags: ,

August 10, 2017

Reconcilable Differences

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Dayana Abreu of E*TRADE Financial Corporate Solutions, who will lead the session “Reconcilable Differences: Remedies for Reconciliations Across Processes & Transactions.”  Here is what Dayana had to say:

NASPP: Why do NASPP Conference attendees need to know about data reconciliation?

Dayana: Data reconciliation is a major component to stock plan administration. Whether you are reconciling the data as a part of your financial reporting, making updates to the data or transitioning to a new record keeping system, being able to know how to efficiently reconcile your data will help you save time and money.

NASPP: What is one best practice companies should implement?

Dayana: Companies should always be in the habit of ensuring their data is maintained, as well as implementing an audit process to help avoid issues with misrepresentation of the data or any cleanup work prior to a major event.

NASPP: What is the silver lining to data reconcilation?

Dayana: Once you have come up with a scalable and reusable template for your reconciliation, any subsequent need to reconcile will be significantly easier.

NASPP: What is your superpower?

Dayana: My razor sharp focus and attention to detail on any task I come across.

Don’t miss Dayana’s session “Reconcilable Differences: Remedies for Reconciliations Across Processes & Transactions” session at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

Tags: ,

August 9, 2017

Mapping Out Mobility: Perspectives Across the Big 4

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Ryan Strong of Fidelity Stock Plan Services, who will lead the session “Mapping Out Mobility: Perspectives Across the Big 4.”  Here is what Ryan had to say:

NASPP: Why is mobility a timely topic right now?

Ryan: Mobile employees continue to present challenges for companies issuing equity and compliance with a multitude of jurisdictions imposing different rules is increasingly difficult.  Understanding the rules and devising right-sized solutions for your company is more important now than ever as regulators continue to ramp up their oversight and enforcement.

NASPP: Any tips for companies just getting started with their mobility compliance?

Ryan: Tackling the problem of mobile employees is a massive undertaking.  You can’t solve for everything at once, so prioritizing employee populations is really important.  Establishing an overarching plan and setting realistic short and long term goals is critically important to greater compliance.

NASPP: What is the silver lining to mobility compliance?

Ryan: We have the Big 4 to help us!  Our panel brings a wealth of expertise and has just about seen it all when it comes to mobile employees and the challenges facing issuers.  Hearing their perspectives side-by-side is guaranteed to broaden yours!

NASPP: What is your superpower?

Ryan: My 3-year old niece will tell you it’s reading “The Cat in the Hat”—my secret: doing all the voices and being as silly as possible.  I’m still working on the NASPP submission…

Don’t miss Ryan’s session “Mapping Out Mobility: Perspectives Across the Big 4” session at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

Tags: ,

August 8, 2017

ASC 718 Compliance in 2017

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Rob Miceli of Merrill Lynch, who will lead the session “Further on up the Road: ASC 718 Compliance in 2017.”  Here is what Rob had to say:

NASPP: Why do NASPP Conference attendees need to know about the current landscape for ASC 718 reporting?

Rob: An optimized equity plan administration solution in 2017 has to include comprehensive reporting in support of the share-based compensation accounting requirements associated with the awards that are issued.

In driving toward a solution that meets any particular issuer’s specific financial reporting requirements, it is helpful to be mindful of both the broad and nuanced issues relating to award characteristics themselves, data organization or storage issues, transactional occurrences, or other unique reporting requirements that can create complexity in the financial reporting area.

Whether in the context of examining current processes in an effort to optimize the status quo, or in terms of evaluating the marketplace for tools to assist with financial reporting, this Power Session will provide attendees with a practical framework for thinking about what characterizes an optimal ASC 718 compliance process—both in general and in the context of specific issues that may be relevant to their particular organization.

NASPP: How can companies improve their ASC 718 reporting processes?

Rob: As with many areas within the equity plan administration landscape, with respect to successfully supporting the financial reporting requirements of equity plans, the devil is often in the details.

When considering the reporting solutions available for ASC 718 compliance, an extremely helpful exercise can be to slow the process down and, as early in the process as possible, ensure the demonstrations and discussions that are occurring are grounded in a level of detail that allows all parties to determine with precision whether the firm-specific reporting requirements in question can be met.

While the accounting standards stipulate—for the most part—somewhat rigidly what our requirements are, the particular share-based compensation accounting needs that can arise from company to company can be quite specific. Converting to a new accounting platform is a non-trivial task, so if an implementation project is going to be undertaken we better be sure the end result will provide precisely what is required.

One specific best practice step can be inquire as to whether sample data following a series of specific transactions and examples can be simulated in the solution environment that is being reviewed so that a relevant, apples-to-apples analysis can be conducted.

NASPP: What is the silver lining to ASC 718 reporting?

Rob: As we are now more than 10 years from the adoption date of FAS 123(R), we are in a position to consider quite a bit of information as we evaluate how best to handle our equity plan reporting requirements.

Different tools and solution approaches are out there and specific issues both that are complex and that would be classified as issues we would expect to be cleanly supported in almost every instance are known.

Being aware of the more prevalent issues that may be out there and the different solution approaches that do exist can help any issuer develop an ASC 718 compliance process that is optimal for them.

NASPP: What is your superpower?

Rob: At the moment, with a two- and a four-year old at home, I am channeling all of my superpowers into my toddler negotiating skills. I’m pretty good but if anyone has some best practice advice in this area, please let me know.

Don’t miss Rob’s session “Further on up the Road: ASC 718 Compliance in 2017” session at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

Tags: ,

August 3, 2017

Flipping Pay for Performance Upside Down: It’s Not Just Performance Shares

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Yonat Assayag of ClearBridge Compensation Group, who will lead the session “Flipping Pay for Performance Upside Down: It’s Not Just Performance Shares.”  Here is what Yonat had to say:

NASPP: Why should companies be thinking about their LTI plans now?

Yonat: Structuring the right long-term incentive plan for a company’s business needs is one of the biggest challenges that companies are facing today.  Pressure from external groups like shareholders and shareholder advisory groups puts an even greater spotlight on how companies are structuring their programs.  Hearing the latest market insights on LTI plan design during our session can help to make sure everyone is making an informed decision about the plan design that’s right for their particular circumstances.

NASPP: What is a common mistake companies make with their LTI plans and how can they avoid this?

Yonat: One common mistake companies make in designing their incentive plans is to “blindly” follow the market trend.  While this may ultimately be the right approach, it is important to review all the pros and cons before making a decision. Specifically, when designing a long-term incentive plan, companies should review the trade-offs of each LTI vehicle and ultimately come to a decision of what is best for their business situation, with an understanding of market practice.

NASPP: What is the silver lining to LTIs?

Yonat: The silver lining is that companies do not need to feel “stuck” with a plan design that isn’t working for them.  Companies can re-evaluate and modify their LTI plan design over time to meet their evolving needs.

NASPP: What is your superpower?

Yonat: Brainwashing!

Don’t miss Yonat’s session “Flipping Pay for Performance Upside Down: It’s Not Just Performance Shares” session at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

Tags: ,

August 2, 2017

The 280G Enigma

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Laurence Wagman of Golden Parachute Tax Solutions, who will lead the session “The 280G Enigma: How One Tiny Code Section Can Ruin an Otherwise Perfectly Constructed Pay Plan.”  Here is what Laurence had to say:

NASPP: Why do you feel strongly about your Section 280G?

Laurence: Having worked on hundreds of transactions, it amazes me on how little attention is paid to Section 280G when companies put together pay plans. What is more amazing is that just a little bit of tax planning upfront can often save both companies and executives significant tax penalties.

NASPP: What is one action should companies be taking now?

Laurence: Plan…Plan…Plan!!!

Make sure your company understands the impact Section 280G has on your company’s pay plan.  Recognizing these potential consequences early on allows a company to employ various planning techniques which may not be available once a transaction is announced.

NASPP: Is there a silver lining to 280G?

Laurence: We have seen a trend with more and more companies begin to do more planning without a transaction pending.

NASPP: What is your favorite memory from a past NASPP Conference?

Laurence: This is my 9th or 10th year coming to NASPP – There are so many great memories at the Conference.  It would be an understatement to not mention how much I love catching up with all the people I have met through the years.

My favorite moment was one of the panels I was on (I believe it was DC). We had a little extra time at the end of our panel discussion.  On a whim my co-panelist Shari Overstreet and I decided to do a mock-280G non-compete interview—it was a complete improvisation because Shari and I had no idea what we were going to ask/say.  At the end of the day she was interviewing a public company CEO who invented the drug that helped men understand woman better and was nominated for a Nobel Prize by Oprah Winfrey. The spontaneous humorous interview allowed for a number of laughs, kept our audience engaged and allowed us to illustrate some great technical points.  Probably not your typical NASPP panel—but based on the feedback we received it was a great panel.

Don’t miss Laurence’s session “The 280G Enigma: How One Tiny Code Section Can Ruin an Otherwise Perfectly Constructed Pay Plan” session at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

Tags: ,

August 1, 2017

Around the World in 60 Minutes

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 25th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out a little more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Valerie Diamond of Baker McKenzie, who will lead the session “Around the World in 60 Minutes: Key International Updates.”  Here is what Valerie had to say:

NASPP: Why is it important for companies to stay current on the latest global developments impacting stock plans?

Valerie: There are a lot of changes in political administrations all around the globe these days.  As administrations change, so do their rules and regulations related to equity awards.  Companies need to stay on top of these issues, particularly the tax requirements, and change their process and procedures to fit any changes in the laws.

NASPP: What is one action should companies be taking now with respect to their global stock plans?

Valerie: Companies should review their existing grant documents to make sure that they are up to date and address the countries where equity awards are granted.  It would be helpful to take a look at existing agreements and compliance now before attending our session and to use our session as a means to find out what is new and what needs to be updated in the company’s grant documentation to fit changes in the laws.

NASPP: What is the most innovative solution/response you’ve seen for keeping track of local requirements?

Valerie: We have been using an online questionnaire process to collect information from local payroll and HR on tax withholding and reporting and local compliance.  This information is gathered in an excel spreadsheet and is easy to compare to the requirements in the local country.  This allows the company to do an easy clean up on any compliance issues that are incomplete or in need of a refresh.

NASPP: What is your favorite tourist attraction in DC?

Valerie: My first favorite is the Vietnam memorial.  My second favorite is the view of the White House from the deck at our Baker McKenzie DC office.  It’s really cool to sit on our roof deck and enjoy the view.

Don’t miss Valerie’s session “Around the World in 60 Minutes: Key International Updates” session at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 25th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from October 17-21 in Washington DC. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

 

Tags: ,