Options Not Just for Execs at Tech Firms

August 16, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A trade group survey found that regular workers receive two-thirds of the options granted at publicly held high-tech companies.

In fact, high-tech firms have handed out options like jelly beans – giving them to 84% of their workers. Six out of 10 respondents to the American Electronics Association (AeA) survey distribute options to all workers.

According to Reuters, the AeA survey results seem to dispute studies that have found top-level executives to be the primary options beneficiaries.

For example, one widely quoted study comes from the National Center for Employee Ownership, which showed that company managers get about 70% of all options granted.
Also on the options horizon is the growing controversy over how best to account for options grants.

Proponents saw shareholders will benefit if companies expense the options so shareholders get the more accurate picture of a company’s financial status.

Disclosure opponents like Intel Corp. and the AeA argue that the issue is really about executive compensation, and that requiring companies to expense options would take away a powerful recruiting perk.

The AeA said it e-mailed its two-question survey to 525 high-tech CEOs, and that one-third responded.