US House overwhelmingly approves stock options legislation

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21 Jul 2004

The United States House of Representatives has approved HR 3574 Stock Option Accounting Reform Act by a vote of 312 to 111, with 10 nonvoting.

This legislation would restrict the SEC from recognising a FASB standard on expensing stock options to options granted to the top five officers of a company, would exclude volatility from the calculation of fair value for those options, and would delay implementation for at least a year pending completion of a joint study by the Secretaries of Commerce and of Labor of the economic impact of the mandatory expensing of employee stock options. The bill would not prohibit voluntary expensing of stock options by SEC registrants. The Senate must also pass the same legislation before the bill becomes law. The FASB has issued an exposure draft proposing that the fair value of all share-based payment, including stock options, be recognised as an expense. The FASB proposal is very similar to IFRS 2. Before adopting HR 3574, the House considered but rejected a substitute bill that sought to preserve the independence of the FASB. Click for the Full Text of the bill as passed (PDF 104k).

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