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Equity Compensation Trends

Featuring commentary from  


Equity Compensation Trends, an Equilar publication, examines equity compensation design and granting practices of Equilar 500 companies over the last five fiscal years. The Equilar 500 tracks the 500 largest public companies, by reported revenue, with headquarters in the U.S. that trade on one of the major U.S. stock exchanges (NYSE, Nasdaq or NYSE MKT (formerly AMEX)), and adjusted to approximate the industry sector mix of similar large-cap indices. The report identifies company trends around awards and design of equity compensation for their management teams and employees. E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc. offers independent commentary to provide insight and context based on experience regarding how companies structure equity pay.

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Key Findings:

  • Stock was used in 96.5% of all equity compensation packages granted to NEOs at Equilar 500 companies in 2017
  • The average option grant by company decreased by 23.5% from 2013 to 2017, while the average stock grant fell by 13.9% over that same period
  • The basic materials sector experienced the largest increase in performance equity prevalence with a 23.5 percentage point gain from 2013 to 2017—however, the prevalence of performance equity across the entire Equilar 500 decreased from 2016 to 2017
  • At 52.5%, relative TSR was the most prevalent performance metric in awards granted by at Equilar 500 companies in 2017—as was the case in the previous four years