Volume 15, No. 4

 

Update:  The "Accelerated Vesting" Phenomenon Continues  Statement 123(R) holds the promise of putting firms' earnings on equal footing when it comes to their stock compensation reporting practices. That promise of more logical comparisons is ruined by the multitude of firms taking the low road to minimizing stock option compensation by "accelerating the vesting"of existing options. While the reporting of stock option compensation is still a mere quarterly footnote disclosure, these firms are setting the table for reduced compensation expense when Statement 123(R) finally becomes effective, which is in fiscal years beginning after 6/15/2005. When the calendar turns over, they would be charging the remaining value of their existing options against earnings - but these "accelerating firms" won't be recognizing that particular expense. Why? By accelerating the vesting of the options immediately, all of the expense is recorded in the period the vesting occurs. Voila - no stock option compensation to recognize.

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