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In the past week, more than twenty-five companies have been targeted by regulators in a fast-spreading investigation of stock option back-dating.
Each day more companies announce internal investigations or the receipt of subpoenas from regulators.
Special Vesting Agreements Upon Extended Leave or Termination?
Employees sometimes seek extended vesting privileges upon termination or a lengthy leave of absence.
Regulators may argue these grants indicate abuse of inside information regarding a company's future prospects and may constitute undisclosed compensation to executives. Many times, an employee's biggest option award is received at hiring.
The employee's hire date, of course, is negotiated along with the new employee's salary, title, responsibilities, and stock options award.
Between 20, big names including Apple, Juniper and Brocade were brought before the courts over their illegal backdating shenanigans.
This continuing legal education program has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the Continuing Legal Education Board for a maximum of 1.0 credit hours, of which 1.0 credit hours can be applied toward the Professional Practice requirement.
The challenged practices apparently include: (1) Using a grant date earlier than the date of the compensation committee meeting at which the options were awarded; (2) Using an "effective as of" or "look back" grant date; and (3) Changing or altering the recorded date of a board resolution, board meeting, award notification, or option agreement.
Many of these alleged practices may also raise issues regarding the procedures used by directors and option plan administrators to fix option grant dates and the amount of discretion given to executives or administrators in the implementation of option awards. So far, press reports and research analysts have looked for evidence of back-dating.
Each day more companies announce internal investigations or the receipt of subpoenas from regulators and prosecutors.
Several senior executives have already been terminated or forced to resign.