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Stock options backdating scandal


In the mids, an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission resulted in the resignations of more than 50 senior executives and CEO s at firms across the spectrum from restaurant chains and recruiters to home builders and health care.

What was it all about? Read on to find out how the scandal emerged, what brought it to and end and what Stock options backdating scandal can learn from it now.

A Scandal Comes to Light

Backdating Scandal Returns to the Forefront. The roots of the scandal date back towhen an accounting rule was put in place permitting companies to avoid recording executive compensation as an expense on their income statements so long as the income was in the form of stock options that were granted at a rate equal to the market price on the day of the grant, often referred to as an at-the-money grant. This enabled companies to issue enormous compensation packages to senior executives without notifying shareholders.

Although this practice gave the senior executives significant stock holdings, since the grant was issued at-the-money, the share price had to appreciate before the executives would actually earn a profit. A amendment to the tax code created an incentive for executives and their employers to work together to break the law. Performance-based compensation, on the other hand, was deductible.

Since at-the-money options Stock options backdating scandal a firm's share price to appreciate in order for the executives to profit, they meet the criteria for performance based-compensation and therefore qualify as a tax deduction. By faking the issue date, they could guarantee themselves in-the-money options and instant profits. They could also cheat the IRS twice, once for themselves, since capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income, and once for their employers since the cost of the options would qualify as a corporate tax write-off.

A series of academic studies was responsible for bringing the backdating "Stock options backdating scandal" to light. The study, published inStock options backdating scandal a strange pattern of extremely profitable option grants, seemingly perfectly timed to coincide with dates on which the shares were trading at a low. A series of two follow-up studies by professors elsewhere suggested that the uncanny ability to time options grants could only have happened if the granters knew the prices in "Stock options backdating scandal." As a result, firms restated earningsfines were paid and Stock options backdating scandal lost their jobs—and their credibility.

Options Backdating

Betting on stock prices when you already know the answer is dishonest. A business run without integrity is a scary proposition.

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From a consumer's perspective, customers rely on companies to provide goods and services. When those firms have no ethical boundaries, their wares become suspect. From a shareholder's perspective, nobody likes to be lied to when providing the financing and paying the salaries.

In the mids, an investigation...

The Dangers of Options Backdating. In the early s, new accounting provisions were enacted that required companies to report their option grants within two days of their issue and also required that all stock options be listed as expenses.

Options backdating is the practice...

These changes reduced the likelihood of future backdating incidents. Check out Investopedia Academy's Options for Beginners course. With over 4 hours of video content and interactive exercises, you'll learn the fundamentals of options trading and how to employ effective strategies within the options market. A Scandal Comes to Light A series of academic studies was responsible for bringing the backdating scandal to light.

The Bottom Line Betting on stock prices when you already "Stock options backdating scandal" the answer is dishonest. No thanks, I prefer not making money. The S.E.C. and the Justice Department investigated more than Stock options backdating scandal over whether the dates of stock-options awards had been.

In the mids, an investigation by the Securities Stock options backdating scandal Exchange Commission The essence of the options backdating scandal can be summarized as the income was in the form of stock options that were granted at a rate.

SEC Charges Trident Microsystems, Inc. and its Former CEO and Former CAO with Stock Options Backdating (SEC v. Trident Microsystems.

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