Stock option backdating example
Granting stock options to employees is a generally accepted and perfectly legal form of compensating employees. Critics of backdating argue that the practice is difficult to detect and thus encourages boards and executives to use it to synthesize more creative compensation packages.
A company may want to give a new employee the benefit of any increase in the stock price from the date of acceptance of the employment offer.
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.
Those options give John the right but not the on the date of the grant.
The board formally grants the stock options to John every year at its January board meeting.
In its most basic form, backdating can range from the blatant falsification of a document to take advantage of a lower stock price to allowing executives to select a grant date during a specified period, for example during the 30 days after the grant is approved by the board or committee.