Stock backdating definition

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These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backdate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. What It Is In the finance world, backdating usually refers to the practice of changing the dates of option grants to one that is earlier than the actual grant date in order to place a lower exercise price on the options and thus enhance the potential profits from the exercise of those stock options.The practice sometimes also occurs in the insurance industry, whereby policy issuers make the effective date of a policy (or claim) earlier than the application date in order to obtain a lower premium for the customer (or obtain better claim results).To avoid having to pay higher taxes, many companies adopted a policy of issuing “at the money” stock options in lieu of additional income, with the idea that the executive or employee would benefit through the option by working to increase the value of the company without exceeding the one million dollar deductibility cap for executive income.When company executives discovered that they had the ability to backdate stock option grants, thus making them both tax deductible and “in the money” on the date of actual issuance, the common practice of stock option backdating for financial gain began on a widespread level.For instance, if the board meeting is on January 3, 2012, and Company XYZ stock closes at per share that day, then the exercise price of John's 2012 stock option grant is per share.That is, he has the right but not the obligation to purchase 1,000 shares of Company XYZ stock for per share.

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When he was hired, the Company XYZ board of directors offered John an attractive salary as well as an annual grant of 1,000 Company XYZ stock options.

It was forced to restate earnings by recognizing a stock-based expense increase of 3 million between 19, after allegedly manipulating its stock options grants for the benefit of its senior executives.

It allegedly failed to inform investors, or account for the options expense(s) properly.

In our example, backdating the options is the same as giving John Doe a check for ,000 -- without recording that ,000 on the income statement as compensation.

That, in turn, understates the company's expenses and overstates its profits, which is a violation of generally accepted accounting principles and has been the grounds for a variety of fraud and miscellaneous charges from federal, state and local regulators.

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