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Dan --- Designing stock plans for worldwide use is difficult. I remember a company implementing a standard U.S.stock plan in Switzerland and the taxes were so onerous there was no payout for participants. It turned out to be a disincentive. Europe can be especially difficult.


You are correct multi-national design isn;t easy, Luckily it's also very achievable!

The key is having the right team at the start.

Nicely put, Dan. Especially point #4. Nobody can possibly know all the devilish nuances of stock plans even when they are confined to the USA.

You are setting yourself up for a whole world of hurt if you don't have all of these people at the table, virtually from day 1.

As to #6, it's almost certainly worth arranging for a group presentation/webinar of country-specific tax advice for participants in each country

Thank Tony,

#4 It still amazes me, after seeing thousands of plans, how often they are created in secret with a team that does not have the requisite knowledge. I hope that this gets better over the next two decades.

#6. I do a lot of work in this area and I ALWAYS recommend that the presentations be crafted for each international location. If you only have a couple of people in a country it may be a simple addendum, but if you have 50 or more companies really need to put in the effort, or expect failure.

Great piece. Great advice. Great lessons and caveats. Thank you.

This forum teaches, reminds, and humbles us (as we should who work in this 'it depends' world of rewards) regularly.

Many of the points that are true for Equity Compensation, are amazingly true for variable compensation AND also for Total Rewards. So it is with much pain and patience that one is often caught explaining (or trying) to the following types that NEW (and greenfield) design and implementation are not easy to accomplish quickly, secretly, working alone without talking with other departments (no matter how much they pay you), to cover persons in diverse roles and levels, 'fail-safe', complying with all relevant regulations, future-litigation-free, for the next foreseable future, with simplified formulae and templates for (ostensibly) any clerk to simply modify when neecessary next year or two, forever ....:
- Founder Entrepreneur Majority Owner CEOs;
- Other CEOs;
- Heads of HR;
- Your 'partner' who got the assignment through their network having promised that they've got YOU on standby to deliver in (an impossible) Quick time -- often to meet a deadline someone had known of months ago! When working in frontier environments, requests of this type are amazingly typical.

Thanks once again.

E. K.
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree with your comments completely.

The one thing I think is interesting is your reference to "frontier environments". While I have found this problem to be common in these areas, I also find it to be no less common in corporate headquarters.

Great post and great advice. #3 on taxes and laws being different everywhere has come back to bite me more times then I care to admit. Good reminder of some key things to stay focused on.

Thanks for the comment Chris!

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