Option backdating list

If the compensation expense is not properly reflected in earnings, the company’s financial statements will be inaccurate and restatement of the financials may be required.The discovery of past backdating practices may raise issues as to the adequacy of the company’s internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures.Options granted at less than fair market value or without proper board or committee approvals may violate the terms of the applicable option plan, with the result that options could be invalid.Exceeding the authority set forth in a shareholder-approved plan may also run afoul of stock exchange rules requiring shareholder approval of equity-based compensation.Several companies have expressed their intent to restate financial statements due to option timing issues, and opportunistic attorneys have already filed derivative and class action lawsuits.

Options that are granted at less than fair market value result in higher levels of compensation expense.

Before FAS 123R, generally only options granted below fair market value resulted in any compensation expense.

After 123R, the “fair value” of discounted options will be greater than the “fair value” of comparable undiscounted options, resulting in higher compensation expenses.

Another scenario involves the allocation of grants to employees from an authorized pool.

If the exercise price is set when the pool is authorized by the board or committee but the allocation and actual grants occur later (when the stock price has increased), backdating issues may arise.

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Option grants to new employees have their own set of backdating issues.

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