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March 18, 2015
Volume 8, No. 2

In this issue:

Changes at SOS

SOS Consultant Corner: Crafting Clear Communications - Even if You're the Newbie on the Team

Across Our Desk

SOS Online Demo

March Market Research Survey


Free SOS Educational Webcast: Stock Splits: Easy Peasy... Not So Fast...

SOS Xposé


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Request a call from an SOS Team Member to get answers to your questions and further discuss your needs-click here
SOS Employment Opportunities

From the SOS Library:

Outsourcing- How it All Comes Together


From the SOS Webcast Archive-

Excellence with Excel for Stock Plan Professionals


Our Services: 

People/Staffing

Equity Compensation Projects/Consulting

SOS-TEAM Outsourcing


Contact Us:

On our webpage

xtra@sos-team.com

888-SOS-0199
 

Changes at SOS

Dear SOS Team Members, Clients and Industry Partners:

As many of you know, SOS's long time CEO and co-founder Marianne Snook recently retired. This is a big change for SOS as Marianne has been instrumental in building our extraordinary culture, allowing us to deliver success to our Partners and Clients with effectiveness and integrity. I am forever grateful to Marianne for her wisdom, warmth and leadership which helped me personally and guided SOS through the years. We all wish her an incredible adventure in retirement.

Marianne's departure also brings with it opportunities for SOS to evolve. I am looking forward to my new role as CEO and enthusiastic about the road ahead for SOS. Our company is enjoying incredible growth and success, giving us the ability to invest in our Team Members and attract the best equity talent in the industry. As our Leadership Team builds on our plans for the future, our focus remains on furthering our teamwork culture with our Clients and Partners. We are also eager to provide new opportunities for SOS Team Members that will link them into the equity benefit community even more.

Our goals include the creation of additional methods for Industry Partners, Clients and Team Members to tap into our incredible talent pool and expertise. By doing so, we will create imaginative solutions and new ways of thinking to enhance our industry. Through the years, SOS's innovative ideas have evolved into expanded services, from onsite staffing and expert professional services to full service outsourcing of equity plans. The combination of our team's talents ensures our customers have the exact expertise, information and problem solving skills they need right at their fingertips, while better enabling SOS to deliver services in a proactive manner.

Thank you for staying in touch with Stock & Option Solutions through our newsletter and industry events. Our entire team is grateful to work with such incredible Clients and Industry Partners!


Barrett Scott
Chief Executive Officer

Stock & Option Solutions
bscott@sos-team.com


SOS Consultant Corner: Crafting Clear Communications - Even If You're the Newbie on the Team

It is your first day at a company and you are ready to tackle whatever challenges come your way.  You know the administration software, the type of equity the company utilizes and how it works, and have even been proactive by reading news releases, the sections of the proxy that may be relevant to your duties and stock plan documents on the SEC website.  You feel pretty good about where you stand before even stepping foot into the work site.
 
One can easily determine the dress code of the client just by looking around during the interview stages, and an hour or so after you get settled in and logged on you should be able to get a fairly accurate read on the "micro-culture" of the physical work location e.g. stoic and head-down, plenty of interaction between workstations. These are clues one should be able to pick up in very short order. 
 
That said, there is one intangible you might not be able to determine (unless you have a contact within the organization), and that is the writing style the organization uses to communicate information to its employees.  But, by taking a little time and doing some due diligence, you can craft written communications to employees that makes it seem like you have been there forever.
 
Almost without fail, you will also have to submit this work for review before submission.  This is an excellent chance to show that you took a moment to try to get the communication's verbiage and structure as close as possible to what the employees typically see.  This not only saves the reviewer time (and possibly a box of red pens), it projects a professional image on you, the author of the message. 
 
How does one determine the style used in an organization's communications?  Perhaps the easiest step you can take is to review prior communications that have gone out from the organization.  At the very least, you should be able to determine the "tone" of the message.  Is it more conversational or strictly formal?  An example of conversational tone might be, "Did you know that it is estimated that 75% of working Americans do not have a plan for income during their retirement years?  Our ESPP is just one of the ways...". Whereas a more formal tone might read, "An estimated 75% of working Americans do not have a plan for income during their retirement years.  X Corporation's ESPP is a tool available to you as a source...". The message is the same, but the tone is much different.
 
Another item to consider is the use of any type of departmental or corporate branding.  Companies spend a good deal of money on establishing the corporate identity of their organization.  This may also hold true for departments within an organization, as a brand can used to quickly establish the department the information is coming from.  The use of the correct fonts, including size and color, and if applicable icons or images used in the communications distributed by the organization or department is at times vital.    As an example, there is perhaps nothing more noticeable than if one uses a size 12 Trebuchet MS font in a black and an image of a dollar sign for a communication concerning the Employee Stock Purchase Plan, when the company uses size 10 Arial in a blue and an Image of a dollar bill in this type of communication. 
 
While this is not be the easiest activity to get absolutely correct on your first draft of a communication, a little "pre-scouting" of what the communications have looked like prior to you starting your assignment may save you, and your manager, the time consuming process of editing and reviewing multiple iterations of  a communication.  A little time spent getting an idea of the language, style and formatting of the company's written communications can pay large dividends in time savings and the image you project as an employee who can effectively draft communications.


Tim Quist
Senior Staff Consultant 
Stock & Option Solutions
tquist@sos-team.com
Tim Quist is a Senior Staff Consultant with Stock & Option Solutions.  He has over fifteen years of experience in equity and executive compensation plan administration.  Tim is the former National Association of Stock Plan Professionals Twin Cities Chapter Secretary and has performed equity and executive compensation duties at the individual contributor as well as manager level for companies large and small.  He resides in the Twin Cities with his wife, daughter, and their rescue dog Sophie, and is an avid SCUBA diver and a sub-standard golfer.


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Across Our Desk

The NASPP summarizes the new ISS Equity Plan Scorecard and Burn Rates, and also takes a look at how the new  Scorecard works20 FAQs were also released by the ISS...and then they added three more.

myStockOptions.com offers some tax return guidance around stock sales. More help in Forbes.
A little off the beaten path (for Xtra, at least), but some interesting incentives (including stock options) are being offered for referrals in what remains a hot job market.

A CEO provides some guidance on getting your employees on board with stock options.
From the NASPP Blog: Silicon Valley vs. the Nation.

A good article on the changes coming to accounting for share-based compensation, quoting Ken Stoler, a speaker at SOS's Aspirations in 2014.  


SOS Online Demo

Stock Plan Professionals NEED to see this quick demo by Elizabeth Dodge. She takes VLOOKUP to a whole new level. Index Match meets VLOOKUP

March Market Research Survey

Complete the survey and be entered into a drawing for a $100 Visa gift card!

Periodically, SOS will ask for issuing companies' participation in a market research survey to enhance our understanding of current practices and trends in the industry and to provide our clients insight into the practices of other issuing firms. Our surveys are brief, taking no more than 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey today!

Please note that only issuing companies, not vendors or consultants, should complete the survey and are eligible for the drawing. Thank you for your cooperation!


Free SOS Educational Webcast:

Stock Splits: Easy Peasy... Not So Fast...


Please join us for our next educational webcast on April 7, 2015 at 11am Pacific Time, 2pm Eastern Time.

Description:

Whether it's a split or a reverse split, stock splits should be easy, right? Turns out that these transactions that look easy at the outset really aren't. Our panelists have worked on a number of splits over the past few years and will share their key lessons and experiences. Even if your company doesn't have a split planned, you should attend this session and file this information away in your equity compensation toolbox. 

This webcast will explain why splits are so complicated and how some advanced planning and preparation can make all the difference. Whether you are outsourced to a full-service provider or managing your plan in-house, there are key areas that are still relevant to your planning and reconciliation process. Which reports should you run before and after the split? How much time does it take to process a split? What is the best way to be really prepared for the split? Our panelists will answer these questions and many more! 
  

Speakers:

(One hour of Certified Equity Professional continuing education credit is available for attending. See the CEPI website for more information on CEP continuing education requirements.)

Register


SOS Xtra needs your news! 

Know anyone in our equity comp industry who's taken a new job? Anyone expecting an addition to the family? Anyone moving, getting married, releasing a new product, rolling out a new program, etc.?

Please send over any ideas/thoughts you have to xtra@sos-team.com, we're happy to track down the person/company to confirm the news and get their acceptance to include it in Xtra. (All news is reviewed and approved by the person and/or company involved.)


Need ESPP Services and Solutions? We've got you covered.


SOS Xposé

...tender tidbits about people and players in our industry...

Career moves...Jennifer Baehr is the new Director, Sales Engineering at Certent, Inc. Joanne Wendler is now the Manager of Stock Administration at Tetra Tech. Rose Hoffman is now working as Manager, Global Stock Plan Services at eBay, Inc. Bernice Toy is the new Programs Director with the NASPP. Jim Vincent is the new Vice President, Support at Certent, Inc. Rachel Ulep is now working as the Solutions & Projects Manager, Global Stock Plan Services at eBay, Inc. Brian Stovall is now working as the Director of Relationship Management for the NASPP. Samantha Adams now works for Twitter as a Stock Administrator-Acquisitions. Georgina Lai is the new Director of Product Development and Strategy for NASDAQ Private Market.

Babies are precious...Mark Miller of Deloitte and his wife brought their daughter, Olivia Elizabeth Miller-Gutierrez, into the world on November 29th, 2014.

Winning is fun...Jim Clark of Seagate Technologies was the happy winner of SOS's raffle prize (a $100 Visa gift card!) at GEO's Nor Cal Forum on March 5th, 2015.

Midnight cravings...Raenelle James, Manager of Financial Reporting, of Equity Methods is expecting her second child with her husband this May and it's a girl this time! Big brother Liam will be so excited to have a little sister!

SOS is hiring and here are our recent additions:
Laura Kreman (People Solutions)
Alicia Perusse (People Solutions)
 
Industry News...Barbara Baksa of the NASPP was mentioned twice in one month in the San Francisco Chronicle (both times on the front page of the business section!). Way to go, Barbara! If you are a subscriber of the Chronicle you can check out the articles from February 13 and February 26


Solving your stock plan challenges is easy. Do it now


Did you miss an issue of Xtra? View our complete newsletter archive from our website here.
Miss a webcast? You can find links to recordings, as well as the materials, on our webcast page.


Information provided in this newsletter is designed for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not provided as professional service or advice. Moreover, this newsletter should not be relied on as legal, accounting, auditing, or tax advice. Anyone reading this newsletter should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel and/or input from their advisors. The preceding information does not necessarily represent the official views of Stock & Option Solutions, Inc. with respect to any of the issues addressed.

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SOS Xtra Editor: Shawna Casey