Cómo dominar el juego de las opciones sobre acciones

CAMBRIDGE – Las compensaciones de los altos ejecutivos es ahora una preocupación central de los consejos de las empresas y de las instancias reguladoras gubernamentales. Hay un aspecto de este debate que sin embargo amerita un mayor escrutinio: la libertad de los ejecutivos para elegir el momento en el que quieren vender sus incentivos compuestos por acciones. Los acuerdos de remuneración normales ofrecen a los ejecutivos una gran discreción sobre el momento en el que deciden vender participaciones y ejercer opciones que les han concedido. Esta discreción es innecesaria e indeseable.

La libertad de los ejecutivos para decidir el momento en el que pueden liquidar sus acciones les permite usar el conocimiento especial que tienen sobre sus empresas para vender antes de que caiga su precio. Aunque las leyes que rigen el uso de información privilegiada supuestamente impiden a los ejecutivos utilizar información “dura”, éstos también tienen información “blanda” a su disposición, lo que les da una ventaja sobre el mercado. En efecto, es un hecho bien documentado que los ejecutivos tienen ganancias  “anormales” considerables –es decir, superiores a las del mercado- cuando hacen transacciones con las acciones de sus propias firmas.

Un segundo problema de que los ejecutivos puedan elegir el momento para vender sus opciones sobre acciones y participaciones es que dicha libertad les brinda un incentivo para usar su influencia sobre la información que revela la empresa para manipular el precio de las acciones antes de que realicen sus operaciones. En estudios empíricos se ha encontrado una relación entre el nivel de transacciones de los ejecutivos y la manipulación de las ganancias –tanto legales como ilegales.

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