Recent dynamics in the institutional and market environment have facilitated the propagation of equity incentive plans outside the US and the UK. This study sheds light on the reasons behind the diffusion of these plans in a country, Italy, where companies are usually controlled by a blockholder and where these instruments were almost absent until the end of the ‘90s. To gain a deep understanding of the phenomenon, we collected data and information on both the diffusion and the technical aspects of equity incentive plans adopted by Italian listed companies in 1999 and 2005. The results show that (i) the determinant of their adoption is the firm size rather than the absence of a controlling shareholder; (ii) these plans are not extensively used to extract company value, although few cases suggest this possibility; and (iii) plans’ characteristics generally comply with the requirements in tax law so that fiscal benefits can be accessed. Our findings contribute to expand the traditional knowledge on reasons behind the adoption of equity incentive plans outside Anglo-Saxon countries, and support a symbolic perspective of corporate governance, according to which the introduction of new governance practices may not imply substantive governance reforms. Practitioner/Policy implications: Our study recommends policymakers to improve the disclosure rules about these plans and to avoid the introduction of fiscal benefits that incentive the diffusion of some compensation schemes respect to others. Moreover, our results encourage members of remuneration committees to pay attention to the specific characteristics of the plans they design.

The Diffusion of Equity Incentive Plans in Italian Listed Companies: What is the Trigger? / Zattoni, Alessandro; A., Minichilli. - In: CORPORATE GOVERNANCE. - ISSN 0964-8410. - 17:2(2009), pp. 224-237. [10.1111/j.1467-8683.2009.00732.x]

The Diffusion of Equity Incentive Plans in Italian Listed Companies: What is the Trigger?

ZATTONI, ALESSANDRO;
2009

Abstract

Recent dynamics in the institutional and market environment have facilitated the propagation of equity incentive plans outside the US and the UK. This study sheds light on the reasons behind the diffusion of these plans in a country, Italy, where companies are usually controlled by a blockholder and where these instruments were almost absent until the end of the ‘90s. To gain a deep understanding of the phenomenon, we collected data and information on both the diffusion and the technical aspects of equity incentive plans adopted by Italian listed companies in 1999 and 2005. The results show that (i) the determinant of their adoption is the firm size rather than the absence of a controlling shareholder; (ii) these plans are not extensively used to extract company value, although few cases suggest this possibility; and (iii) plans’ characteristics generally comply with the requirements in tax law so that fiscal benefits can be accessed. Our findings contribute to expand the traditional knowledge on reasons behind the adoption of equity incentive plans outside Anglo-Saxon countries, and support a symbolic perspective of corporate governance, according to which the introduction of new governance practices may not imply substantive governance reforms. Practitioner/Policy implications: Our study recommends policymakers to improve the disclosure rules about these plans and to avoid the introduction of fiscal benefits that incentive the diffusion of some compensation schemes respect to others. Moreover, our results encourage members of remuneration committees to pay attention to the specific characteristics of the plans they design.
The Diffusion of Equity Incentive Plans in Italian Listed Companies: What is the Trigger? / Zattoni, Alessandro; A., Minichilli. - In: CORPORATE GOVERNANCE. - ISSN 0964-8410. - 17:2(2009), pp. 224-237. [10.1111/j.1467-8683.2009.00732.x]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11385/147618
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