The perfect payday

The perfect payday

THE PERFECT PAYDAY FRAUD IN THE STOCK MARKET LIEW XUAN QI (A0157765N) CHEONG HUI PING (A0127945W) HONG CHUAN YIN (A0155305M) FORELLE AND BANDLER (2006) THE PERFECT PAYDAY WALL STREET JOURNAL OVERVIEW 1.How the stock market works 2.The main problems Backdating Inattentive

directors Greed Start up fund 1. Consequences of Fraud 2. Methods to reduce the problem 3. Academic study findings 3.

Drawbacks of these methods 4. Root of problem 4. Take home message OVERVIEW 1.How the stock market works 2.The main problems Backdating Inattentive

directors Greed Start up fund 1. Consequences of Fraud 2. Methods to reduce the problem 3. Academic study findings 3.

Drawbacks of these methods 4. Root of problem 4. Take home message HOW THE STOCK MARKET WORKS Stock options give recipients a right to buy company stock at a set price, called exercise price Exercise price can be o The stocks 4pm price on the date of the grant

o An average of the days high and low o The 4pm price of the day before The exercise price fluctuates and depends on the grant date, which is the date the stock options were bought HOW THE STOCK MARKET WORKS The lower the stock price, the more money the recipient can potentially make someday by exercising the options The key purpose of stock options is to give recipients an incentive to improve their employers performance o Company is doing well more people feel safe buying companys stock demand for stock rises price rises HOW THE STOCK MARKET WORKS EXAMPLE

Difference in price of options makes a difference Executive gets 100,000 options a day when the stock is $30 pays $3mil If the grant date was a month earlier, stock is $20 pays $2mil Exercising them when stock is $50 get $5mil Earns extra $1mil if grant date was 1 month earlier OVERVIEW 1.How the stock market

works 2.The main problems Backdating Inattentive directors Greed Start up fund 1. Consequences of Fraud 2. Methods to reduce

the problem 3. Academic study findings 3. Drawbacks of these methods 4. Root of problem 4. Take home message LUCK OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Shares of Affiliated Computer Services Inc. sank to the lowest level in the year Chief Executive Jeffery Richs annual grant of stock options was dated that day, entitling him to buy stock at that price Same pattern throughout Mr Richs tenure all his stock option grants from 1995 to 2002 were dated just before a rise in stock price, often at the bottom of a steep drop Odds of this happening by chance is very low (1 in 300billion) THE MAIN PROBLEMS - BACKDATING Most effective way to consistently capture low price days for option grants

Wait for stock prices to rise and backdate to a day prior to the rise Purchase stock options at a lower price and have confidence that the price of their stock will rise Nobody authorizing grants on a given day would know how the stock would do in the future, post grant price surges would indicate backdating THE MAIN PROBLEMS - BACKDATING Some companies top executives receive options on unusually favourable dates. This can help build fortunes even if company stock does not rise steadily Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. chief executive Louis Tomasetta got a grant to buy 600,000 shares at a date where the shares were priced at its low for the year, allowing him to pocket more profits. 8 of his 9 option grants were dated just before a double digit price surge in the next 20 trading days. The odds of such a pattern occurring by chance

is about 1 in 26billion THE MAIN PROBLEMS - BACKDATING It is a way executives enrich themselves during the boom at the expense of shareholders Option grants are long lived those holding backdated grants can still profit despite them buying the grants many years ago HOWEVER, some companies do option grants when there is a dip in stock price might not be backdating THE MAIN PROBLEMS INATTENTIVE DIRECTORS Someone picked a favourable past date for an option grant and gave it to the directors for retroactive approval, counting on them not to notice A space for the grant date appears to have been left blank on paperwork approved by directors, or dates were

later altered OVERVIEW 1.How the stock market works 2.The main problems Backdating Inattentive directors Greed Start up fund 1. Consequences of Fraud

2. Methods to reduce the problem 3. Academic study findings 3. Drawbacks of these methods 4. Root of problem 4.

Take home message ACADEMIC STUDY FINDINGS Examined thousands of companies and found odd patterns of movement around the dates of grants Share prices generally fell before option grants and appreciated sharply after recipients get options at favourable times Unlikely to happen by chance at least some of the grant dates had to have been filled in retroactively By chance alone, grants ought to be followed by mixed stock performance some rise, some fall ACADEMIC STUDY FINDINGS To quantify how unusual a grant is, a calculation of how much a companys stock rose 20 trading days after a grant date. The analysis then ranked that appreciation against the stock performance for all other grant dates in the year according to how the stocks rose/fell

Use 20 days as a benchmark is reasonable because a longer period wouldnt be a good way to spot backdating of a few days or weeks because the longer term trading would overwhelm any backdating effect It is very unlikely that several grants spread over a number of years would all fall on high ranked days Very unlikely that an executives overall multiyear grant pattern occurred merely by chance HOWEVER, some companies make grants in days they thought the stocks were temporarily low. This could explain why the results differ somewhat from

OVERVIEW 1.How the stock market works 2.The main problems Backdating Inattentive directors Greed Start up fund 1. Consequences of Fraud 2.

Methods to reduce the problem 3. Academic study findings 3. Drawbacks of these methods 4. Root of problem 4. Take home message

ROOT OF PROBLEM - GREED Big option grants tempted executives to do whatever it took to get the stock prices up until they cash in their options Options richly reward executives due to stock buoyancy (stock prices rise unusually after a period of low) and not their own efforts ROOT OF PROBLEM START UP FUND Young firms with bright prospects but little revenue used stock options to attract and pay executives stock options became a vast source of wealth OVERVIEW 1.How the stock market works 2.The main problems

Backdating Inattentive directors Greed Start up fund 1. Consequences of Fraud 2. Methods to reduce the problem 3. Academic study findings

3. Drawbacks of these methods 4. Root of problem 4. Take home message CONSEQUENCES OF FRAUD Accounting issues Due to the options being backdated and the recipient receiving more profits extra cost to the company.

If company failed to include such costs in the records, it will overstate profits and have to restate past financial results OVERVIEW 1.How the stock market works 2.The main problems Backdating Inattentive directors Greed Start up fund 1. Consequences of

Fraud 2. Methods to reduce the problem 3. Academic study findings 3. Drawbacks of these methods 4. Root of problem 4.

Take home message METHODS TO REDUCE PROBLEM Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) examine whether option grants carry favourable grant dates due to other reasons backdating Option grants are made by directors, with details often handled by a compensation committee. Many companies make their grants at the same time each year, a policy that limits the potential for manipulation of the date In 2002, Sarbanes-Oxley law stated that companies have to report grants within 2 days, little leeway to retroactively date a grant OVERVIEW 1.How the stock market works

2.The main problems Backdating Inattentive directors Greed Start up fund 1. Consequences of Fraud 2. Methods to reduce the problem 3. Academic study

findings 3. Drawbacks of these methods 4. Root of problem 4. Take home message DRAWBACKS OF THE METHODS Companies still report about of option grants later than the 2 day dateline. Delayed reporting is associated with big price gains suggestive of backdating OVERVIEW 1.How the stock market

works 2.The main problems Backdating Inattentive directors Greed Start up fund 1. Consequences of Fraud 2. Methods to reduce

the problem 3. Academic study findings 3. Drawbacks of these methods 4. Root of problem 4. Take home message TAKE HOME MESSAGE IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN

INTEGRITY IN THE STOCK MARKET AND NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF POWER TO ENGAGE IN DISHONEST ACTS TO PROFIT

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