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UBS Survey Reveals How Employees Can Maximize Perceived Value of Company Stock Awards

Together, planning, advice and diversification increase the impact of equity compensation 

Today UBS Wealth Management Americas announced the findings from the third edition of UBS Participant Voice, an industry wide survey of equity plan participants, which reveals how they can perceive more value from their equity awards. This year's edition, "The multiplier effect," found that 45% of employees see little value in equity awards, even though companies grant billions in equity awards each year. However, when employees take three specific actions—planning, advice and diversification—they perceive twice as much value in their equity compensation.

"Clearly, a more active approach to managing equity awards can lead to greater employee satisfaction, which is what companies are ultimately trying to achieve," said Michael Barry, Head of UBS Equity Plan Advisory Services. "Companies and plan providers should be advising employees on how to make the most of their equity compensation."

The multiplier effect

The UBS Equity Award Value Index measures the value employees place on equity awards. According to UBS Participant Voice, three key factors lead participants to value their equity compensation more. Employees who seek advice on managing equity compensation, incorporate their awards into an overall financial plan and diversify their holdings scored 55 on the value index, vs. 27 (minimal value) for employees who did not adopt any of those behaviors. Among participants who took none of these actions, only 36% are confident that they will achieve their financial goals.

Employees who take one of these steps feel better about their financial wellness. Sixty-nine percent of employees who incorporate equity awards into their financial plans feel confident about achieving their financial goals vs. 43% of those without a plan. Similarly, 61% of employees who receive equity compensation advice feel highly confident about retirement vs. 41% who have not received help from a financial advisor.

Employees see the most value in advice on diversification strategies, managing the risks of concentrated positions and setting a target price for selling shares. For example, employees who incorporated their equity awards into their diversification strategy scored 50 on the UBS Equity Award Value Index, vs. 38 for employees who did not.

A leader in equity compensation

UBS Equity Plan Advisory Services, part of UBS Financial Services Inc., is dedicated to helping companies and their employees maximize the value of equity awards. As part of our commitment, we provide education and access to advice to equity plan participants at all compensation levels in the U.S. and in many countries throughout the world. Our advice is rooted in our broad experience and insights as a leading wealth management firm. Serving more than one million participants in over 150 countries at 170 companies, UBS offers custom plan administration and transaction solutions through both full and partial administration services.

Wealth Management Americas is one of the leading wealth managers in the Americas in terms of financial advisor productivity and invested assets. Its business includes UBS’s domestic US and Canadian wealth management businesses, as well as international business booked in the US. It provides a fully integrated set of wealth management solutions designed to address the needs of ultra high net worth and high net worth clients.

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS's strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.

UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in 54 countries, with about 34% of its employees working in the Americas, 35% in Switzerland, 18% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 13% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs approximately 60,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).