Options Made Easy
John J. Xenakis
With companies offering stock options to more and more employees, and with options receiving increasing regulatory scrutiny, plan administrators are seeking help from specialized software.
Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc., a medical device manufacturer, is using Express Options for Windows from Corporate Management Solutions Inc. (based in Shelton, Conn.; www.cmsoptions.com) to track stock options that have been granted to 2,500 employees. “We use it for all the record keeping,” says shareholder relations supervisor Charlene Anderson. “We have three people using the software, and it provides information to about 80 payroll departments around the world, as well as to finance people, tax departments, and other finance areas.”
The software, which costs $14,995 for an unlimited user license, automates record-keeping functions and processes a variety of exercises, including cash, cashless, stock appreciation rights, and stock swaps. It enforces compliance with all SEC, IRS, and FASB regulations. A new version of the software permits employees to access their stock-option portfolios over the Internet.
The major competitor is ShareData Inc. (www.share-data.com), which offers Equity Edge for a starting price of $8,000. The two vendors leapfrog each other in adding features to their software; shoppers should seek quotes from both. .
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