Employee Stock Purchase Plan Part 1 – Differing Implementation

Employee stock purchase plan or ESPP in short – how you ever drill down the details on how they are implemented from a company perspective?

Scenario 1 & 2 below are the past and present methods of implementation for Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) at a US multinational company in Penang, let’s call it X. However, Scenario 1 is still practised in at least another MNC, let’s call it Y.
In this purchase period, assume I have enrolled into the plan and accumulated a sizeable amount of money via monthly salary deduction. And according to company’s ESPP plan, staff is entitled to purchase the share at 15% discount.

Scenario 1

At the end of Purchase Period, company will purchase the shares at the lower of these 2 prices – Entry Stock Price on 1 Jan or Last Day Purchase Period Stock Closing Price, at 15% discount.


Here’s an example, an actual screenshot of my own employee stock purchase plan, ESPP shares purchase calculation. See the phrase “Your purchase price is 85% of the lower price”, which happened to be the stock price on 31 Oct 2008.
Scenario 2
See a different phrase for the below – “Your purchase price is 85% of the Fair Market Value on purchase price”, which always refer to the closing stock price on the last stock trading date within the defined Purchase Period. In this case, it is the stock closing price on 30 April 2009, which, coincidentally, is lower than its entry price on 1 Nov 2009.
But in the next Purchase Period, as in the third screenshot below, your stock purchase date fair market value is fixed on 31 Oct 2009 (last stock trading price within this Purchase Period) as in the aforementioned statement. It is NOT the lower of the Entry Price ($18.81) and Purchase Date Price ($24.74).
So why did MNC X altered the implementation somewhere in Q4 2008? It never occurred to me WHY, but apparently it actually has to do with Malaysian (moronic) taxation scheme on employee stock purchase plan, ESPP. Let’s save this for subsequent post.
In short, employee lose out in Scenario 2, because less number of shares are being purchased.
Which scenario does your company ESPP practise?

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