Volume 7, No. 11

 

Option Compensation: Lessons From The S&P 500:  Much has been written in the past year about the subject of options in corporate compensation packages. It's almost a seasonal event, like the swallows returning to Capistrano: every spring, the freshly-printed proxy statements are examined by eager investors and reporters, and stories then emerge about "corporate greed." The option compensation buzz been revving up again, due to the cannonball drops that the stock market has been taking here and there as of late. Concerns have surfaced that managements will petition their boards to reprice options that are now out-of-the money, in the name of "incentive." Managements are also concerned about potential FASB moves to change the accounting for repriced options, in a fashion that may have negative consequences for reported earnings. It seems that everyone talks about option compensation, but nobody analyzes it. The option disclosures required by SFAS No. 123, "Accounting for Stock-Based Compensation," are incredibly rich - and should be examined by investors. What follows is a review of some of that information for companies in the S&P 500.

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