valuation solutions Articles


Rethinking Equity Compensation in Response to COVID-19: Upcoming Grants

There are many considerations when granting new awards in this environment — changing vehicles, selection of metrics and evaluating performance thresholds. Here’s what companies need to think through when determining when and how to execute upcoming grants.

Published: July 2020
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Today’s Crises Will Test Corporate Boards; Here Are Five Ways to Build Resiliency

Given the enormous risks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and a renewed focus on social justice issues across the United States and globe, boards that have begun to address ESG issues in a material fashion will be better positioned to navigate current and future challenges. Below, we examine five steps boards can take to ensure they have the right processes in place. 

Published: June 2020
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Rethinking Equity Compensation in Response to COVID-19: Addressing Outstanding Grants

As firms consider ways to adjust employee pay due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic slowdown, the decision points around addressing outstanding equity awards are especially complex. Here are factors to consider by type of equity vehicle.

Published: June 2020
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Exploring Key Differences in Private vs. Public Board of Director Pay as the Market Turns

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are making significant changes to executive compensation and employee rewards, often with significant board of director oversight. Thus, we can expect boards to quickly come under the microscope for their own pay levels. This makes understanding today’s baseline for pay all the more critical.

Published: May 2020
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How Common are Employee Stock Purchase Plans? It Varies Widely by Demographics.

While ESPPs are well known, there is a lack of data on just how common they are. Our new research can help firms decide if they should offer one based on industry, region and size.

Published: April 2020
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For HR Leaders at Technology Firms, COVID-19 Means Preparing for Multiple Scenarios

While technology firms are acting very quickly to support workers in the face of COVID-19 through enhanced leave policies and special stipends, most firms are taking time to monitor market signals before making substantial changes to their core compensation programs.

Published: April 2020
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In Response to COVID-19, HR Leaders Must Keep Life Sciences Firms Moving Forward

Whether your life sciences firm is on the front lines of responding to COVID-19 or not, delivering life-saving discoveries remains as important as ever. For HR and rewards leaders, this means moving swiftly to keep workers as safe and productive as possible.

Published: April 2020
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Considerations for Your Total Rewards Strategy in Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic creates a wide range of challenges for business leaders to consider. When it comes to total rewards, here are the key issues to address. 

Published: March 2020
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IRS Releases Proposed Regulations that Clarify the Tax Reform’s Impact on Section 162(m)

When the tax cut bill went into place on December 22, 2017, the changes to Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m) left a lot of companies with more questions than answers. On December 18, 2019, the IRS released proposed regulations under Section 162(m), which covers mainly grandfathering and 409A questions.

Published: December 2019
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Tips for Addressing Underwater Equity During Market Volatility

Recent volatility in the stock market for the life sciences sector is a good reminder for public companies to examine their approach to employee equity that loses value due to drops in the market. Here are our tips for addressing equity with diminishing value.

Published: December 2019
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The Era of Low ESPP Participation Is Over

Aon has partnered with Carver Edison to aid plan sponsors in understanding the impact to financial reporting, tax accounting and company balance sheet of a Carver Edison ESPP as compared to a traditional ESPP.

Published: March 2019
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Mandatory Post-Vest Holding Periods on ESPPs

Despite potential drawbacks, some companies have expressed an interest in adopting mandatory holding periods for their employee stock purchase plan because it gives them the ability to apply a discount for illiquidity to the fair value of the ESPP. We explain how to estimate the fair value for an ESPP with a mandatory holding period.

Published: November 2018
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How to Save Money on Your ESPP

Employee Stock Purchase Plans are gaining in popularity, however, the valuation techniques used to derive accounting fair values can be complex and often misunderstood. Fortunately, with a better understanding of the valuation mechanics, there are ways to more accurately value ESPPs that also reduce the expense. 

Published: November 2018
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Determining the Fair Value of Your ESPP

Companies’ Employee Stock Purchase Plans can have myriad structures and features. The fair value of an ESPP depends on both the structure of the plan and the economic assumptions used in the valuation model. We explain how to get started calculating the fair value of your ESPP.

Published: November 2018
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Radford’s Approach to Valuing Equity Compensation

Designing effective equity programs is one of the most important roles for human resources and compensation professionals. But before companies can design an effective equity program they need to gather market data and have a common methodology for valuing that data.

Published: October 2017
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How Will the Changes to ASC 718 Impact the Way Your Company Expenses Its Equity Awards?

On March 30, 2016, FASB released the final version of the updates to Accounting Standards Codification Topic 718: Compensation-Stock Compensation (“ASC 718”). The update includes an option on how a company may account for forfeitures in its expense amortization.

Published: December 2016
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Illiquidity Discounts for Mandatory Holding Periods: Fact vs. Fiction

Recent statements by an SEC official triggered erroneous media accounts that companies might be overstating illiquidity discounts for equity awards with mandatory holding periods. We sought clarification from the SEC and separate fact from fiction in our latest client alert.

Published: August 2016
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The Unexpected Tax Benefits of Post-Vest Holding Requirements in Canada

Share awards subject to post-vest holding requirements are an emerging trend in the US, and we think it won't be long before the practice takes root in Canada. In Canada, companies aren't the only ones who stand to save money from post-vest holding requirements— employees are also eligible to receive additional tax benefits. Our article explains how these tax benefits are applied under multiple scenarios.

Published: May 2016
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How to Calculate Pay vs. Performance under the SEC's Proposed New Rules

It's been a year since the SEC proposed pay-vs-performance disclosure rules. While the rules haven't been finalized, it's not too early to think about model disclosure. Laying the groundwork will make implementation easier and can enhance the narrative around what the new figures mean. In our article, we explain what the proposed rules would require and pathways toward compliance.

Published: April 2016
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Will Today's Volatile Markets Bring Option Exchanges Back? What You Need to Know

Depending on what the markets do next, underwater stock option exchanges could be poised for a big comeback. Exchange programs are already quietly on the rise, but the governance landscape isn't as forgiving as it was in 2008 and 2009. Before taking action, it's important to take stock of where your company stands in a number of critical areas.

Published: March 2016
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A New S&P Policy Change Requires Vigilance in Measuring Indexed TSR Plan Performance

The prevalence of indexed performance equity plans has skyrocketed in recent years, but a new policy change by Standard & Poor's means that the number of stocks companies benchmark against can exceed the number of companies in the S&P 500. The requires companies to review their indexed plans if they want each company to receive equal weighting.

Published: March 2016
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The Link Between Employee Communication and Equity Plan Performance

Performance-based equity plans, especially those with Relative TSR metrics, can be complex. This makes effective employee communication a key ingredient for success. To test this premise, our Equity Services team has once again surveyed PeerTracker clients to explore the link between plan communication and performance.

Published: January 2016
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The Aon Hewitt Multiple-Point Binomial Model: A More Precise Approach to Option Expensing

Rather than assuming that all employees have homogenous option exercise behaviors, the Aon Hewitt Multiple-Point Binomial Model considers the unique exercise activity of employee groups. This results in greater modeling flexibility and more accurate fair value calculations.

Published: December 2015
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Seeking a New Share Authorization? Don't Ignore the Shifting Governance Environment.

ISS' new method of evaluating employee equity plans, in additional to evolving institutional investor policies, could make passage of your plan more difficult. We analyze the issues around share authorization plans that matter to various constituents.

Published: November 2015
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New Options for Share-Based Payment Accounting May be Attractive to Some Issuers

New accounting guidelines from FASB allow companies to opt out of estimating forfeitures of employee stock awards, which can be a particularly attractive option for some smaller, private companies.

Published: October 2015
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Rising Market Volatility Doesn't Always Mean Your Equity Plan Costs Have to Go Up

The recent drop in the stock market created by global economic uncertainty can drive up volatility assumptions— resulting in a greater cost to companies' equity plans. We explain alternative methodologies to mitigate this risk that can help offset the impact of market volatility and ultimately reduce the cost to companies.

Published: September 2015
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Getting to Know Your Peers: Who is Alphabet Inc.?

A complete corporate restructuring like Google's creation of a new holding company would normally trigger peer group changes. However, companies that list Google as a peer for their equity performance plans may want to rethink making any changes.

Published: August 2015
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Radford Methodologies: How to Value and Apply Equity Compensation Market Data

Designing effective equity programs is one of the most important roles for human resources and compensation professionals. But before companies can design an effective equity program they need to gather market data and have a common methodology for valuing that data.

Published: July 2015
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Risky Business: What to Expect as Treasury Rates Rise

Historically low interest rates won't last forever. Compensation professionals that understand the effects that the inevitable increase in risk-free rates will have on equity compensation valuations will be ahead of the game.

Published: July 2015
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Switzerland Reminds us of the Importance of Currency Conversions for Global Relative TSR Plans

When the Swiss Bank decided it would no longer tie the Swiss Franc (CHF) to the Euro, the value of the Swiss Franc skyrocketed, immediately impacting equity markets and foreign exchange traders. However, bankers were not the only ones affected by this move. The results of your global relative TSR plan could change as well. To find out why, read our latest expert insight.

Published: March 2015
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