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How Recruiters Can Unlock Golden Handcuffs

As an executive recruiter, you may often encounter a promising candidate who is reluctant to leave his or her current position because of vested stock options --- even though the candidate may feel that your client's job may have better potential. This psychological reluctance is the fundamental logic behind how stock options can act as golden handcuffs and why so many companies utilize them as a retention tool.

The Employee Stock Option Fund (ESO Fund) can help in those situations. ESO provides financing to current and former employees of private companies to allow them to exercise their stock options. This innovative service allows executive recruiters and their company clients to "take off the table" any discussion of advancing funds to a new hire to exercise options at the candidate's former company. These valuable funds can be utilized for more important and tax-efficient expenses such as relocation. Moreover, these bonus funds are fully taxed which makes them a very expensive way to exercise options which also trigger additional taxes. As such, bonus dollars need to be grossed up twice for taxes to cover exercises which means the bonus can be 3x to 4x higher than the actual dollars needed to do the exercise.

Unlike regular loans, no payments are due under ESO's program until there is a liquidity event. ESO does not require a transfer of title or even a security pledge on the underlying stock. Candidates will retain the benefits of ownership such as voting but most importantly, the ability to benefit from future appreciation in value.

Moreover, an ESO advance allows the candidate to take a portfolio approach to private company stock. Rather than a stagnant position waiting on fully vested stock to achieve liquidity, the candidate can retain stock in their old company as well as vesting additional equity in a new company.

For more information regarding ESO loans and how we can help recruiters and their placement candidates, please contact us at the ESO Fund.


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The ESO Fund does not provide legal, financial or tax advice. The above transaction description is a general description only and all terms are subject to final documentation between ESO and loan recipient.