Schwab Reveals Enhancements to Equity Comp Plan System

November 2, 2011 ( - Charles Schwab has announced several key enhancements to its Schwab EquiView recordkeeping system and Equity Award Center Web site.

Plan sponsors can now auto-assign exercise restrictions in Schwab EquiView. The company said this helps minimize the risk of exercise errors since participants with restrictions against specific transaction types on their awards will not have the option to select those transaction types when placing a trade.   

Restrictions can be set around common transactions such as exercise-and-hold, same-day sale, and sell- to-cover. For example, a business rule may take the form, “If Country equals China, then Same-day Sale only.” For convenience, plan sponsors can also assign an exercise restriction by including the appropriate code on the grant import file.  

The recordkeeping and reporting functions in the Schwab EquiView system have expanded to include support for restricted stock unit deferral provisions. Enhancements include new data areas in EquiView to store deferral-related data, expanded capabilities to handle the appropriate tax treatment for restricted stock, and the addition of corporate and participant reporting to capture deferral events.  

In addition, Schwab EquiView Modeler helps sponsors more effectively manage their stock plan programs through a duplicate, non-production environment of the EquiView recordkeeping system for testing and trial purposes. Through EquiView Modeler, plan sponsors can test various scenarios with their data, such as grant modeling or checking forfeiture rates and valuation, before actually implementing changes that affect plan administration and financial reporting. Sponsors can also use the modeler to help train new administrators without affecting live plan data and can preview new features in EquiView Modeler before they are introduced in EquiView.  

According to the company, based on growing demand from sponsors to provide participants with additional support, sponsors can now view their participants’ accounts on Equity Award Center, Schwab’s Web site for stock plan participants. This allows the client to see a participant’s equity award information as the participant sees it, in real time. Useful for troubleshooting and participant education, this feature also allows sponsors to review messages as they appear in the participant’s Equity Award Center account, as well as review online grant agreements.   

To protect participant privacy, sponsors are not able to view select information such as participant trade transactions and personal information updates.