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Whether you’re asking “Who’s on first?” or rehearsing a stand up comedy routine – you’re the Who that’s on first! As the Super Admin, you’re the first person executive team members come to with questions about the status of the company stock and option plans and you’re the one that knows who the essential players are.
There are still a lot of important functional aspects and process tips on stock plan administration that I want to write about. Before we dig into those details, I want to look closer at connections. The last blog asked a lot of questions that started with the word Who. The work of administering a stock plan cannot be done in a vacuum, even for Certified Equity Professionals.
Picking your team
Whatever your title, if you’re the go-to person in your office for questions about HR, benefits, or board and executive team support, you’ll need to know who has essential information about your company’s stock plan. And if your company is selecting a plan administration technology or heading into an IPO that requires a change of administration technology, it will be a great help to your CFO if you can contribute insight into technology selection and the essential participants for long term management of the program. The best Super Heroes always have a great support team!
Here are the people you’ll need on your team and what they bring to the table (you may already wear one or more of these hats):
- Board liaison – this person prepares the grant list for the board and makes sure that it has all the required details that allow the administrator to prepare the grants in a compliant manner.
- HR liaison – this person provides the administrator with new employee information, grant recommendations from managers, change in status and termination dates, and is often the person that manages distribution and execution of award grant and exercise documents and payroll tax withholding, and will also coordinate employee education programs with the plan administrator.
- Accounting liaison – this person will coordinate the collection and processing of exercise payments.
- CFO liaison – this person, maybe the CFO directly, will work with the administrator to generate the award expensing reports.
- Plan administrator – The administrator works with each of the core corporate departments to make sure that they timely provide required information to the administrator and also ensures that each liaison has a clear understanding of how their information is critical to compliant plan administration. The administrator works with the finance/executive team when corporate transactions are contemplated, such as financings, mergers, acquisitions and IPOs, to understand the impact of the transaction on active equity plans. The administrator also gathers all of the information provided by the other team members and gets it into the administration technology.
A good administrator (or coordinator) will create a calendar of periodic activities and events and schedule meetings with the required team members at key times throughout the year. The “Private Company Equity Compensation Administration Toolkit” published by the National Center for Employee Ownership has a digital Equity Co-sourcing Delegation Checklist that lists the most common annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily activities and events, along with which team members should be included as a leader or contributing member.
Next month we’ll talk about picking the right equipment for your team in Admin Super Powers.
Achaessa James has worked in equity compensation since 1999 in the legal, venture capital, and equity administration outsourcing fields. She is a senior Equity Compensation Consultant with Stock & Option Solutions where she supports clients with system implementations, data migrations, corporate governance audits, corporate transaction preparation, and special project design and implementation. She is also the consulting Equity Compensation Product Manager for the National Center for Employee Ownership where she manages the highly regarded twice-yearly CEP Exam Prep Course, and serves as the NCEO’s subject matter expert on equity compensation.
Achaessa’s focus on privately held companies has earned her a deep expertise in pre-IPO and M&A equity planning and audits, and best practices in administration and technology. She speaks on these topics at industry conferences and in webcasts, and is a published author with books including “If I’d Only Known That!”, and “The Private Company Equity Compensation Administration Toolkit” as well as many newsletter articles in industry publications. You can connect with Achaessa on LinkedIn.