Executive compensation professionals should read the lead story on the front page of today's The Wall Street Journal, "Executives' Good Luck in Trading Own Stock." The authors claim to have examined SEC filings since 2004 and found that "of the 20,237 executives who traded their own company's stock during the week before their companies made news, 1,418 executives recorded average stock gains of 10% (or avoided 10% losses) within a week after their trades." The article goes on to cite a number of pointed examples.
In every case where a spokesperson for the company or executive involved commented to the WSJ, they claimed that the trades were made in accordance with company policy or according to a 10b5-1 plan. A significant portion of the article is devoted to the inherent flaws in 10b5-1, including the executive's ability to change or revoke a 10b5-1 plan and the lack of public reporting of the establishment of such plans. I am not endorsing the conclusions (or insinuations) of this article. However, those of us who have worked in the executive compensation area for a long time (29 ½ years for me – but I started when I was 10), know that articles like this can create an uproar leading to action by Congress, the SEC or investment advisors (not to mention lawsuits by the plaintiffs' lawyers). This is how the stock options backdating and other "scandals" started.
Until the time of new legislation of rules, it probably makes sense for companies to review their insider trading and 10b5-1 plan policies in light of this unwanted attention.
On November 28, 1943, Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill began the Tehran Conference (code-named Eureka), at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, which was the first of the World War II conferences held between all of the "Big Three" Allied leaders. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin discussed full cooperation and assistance in their war policies. Roosevelt gave Stalin a pledge that the British and the Americans would open a second front in France in the spring of 1944, which became Operation Overlord or D-Day. Roosevelt and Churchill also agreed to Stalin's demand for an area in the Eastern part of Poland to be added to the USSR, and for the border to be lengthened elsewhere in the country, despite protests of the Polish government-in-exile in London. Churchill and Roosevelt also consented to the USSR setting up puppet communist governments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic states, Romania, and other Eastern European countries. And that, ladies and gentlemen, led to the Cold War.