Backdating pay

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In essence, the revision enabled companies to increase executive compensation without informing their shareholders if the compensation was in the form of stock options contracts that would only become valuable if the underlying stock price were to increase at a later time.

One of the larger backdating scandals occurred at Brocade Communications, a data storage company.Options backdating is the practice of altering the date a stock option was granted, to a usually earlier (but sometimes later) date at which the underlying stock price was lower.This is a way of repricing options to make them valuable or more valuable when the option "strike price" (the fixed price at which the owner of the option can purchase stock) is fixed to the stock price at the date the option was granted.Toward the other extreme, where the backdating was a result of overly informal internal procedures or even just delays in finalizing the paperwork documenting options grants, not intentional wrongdoing, there is likely to be no formal sanction—although the company may have to restate its financial statements to bring its accounting into compliance with applicable accounting rules.With respect to the more serious cases of backdating, it is likely that most of the criminal actions that the government intended to bring were brought in 2007.

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