Public Limited Companies (Financial Regulation)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:02 pm on 13th March 2003.

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Photo of John McFall John McFall Chair, Treasury Committee 3:02 pm, 13th March 2003

Stock options are part of aggressive earnings management and must be stamped out, although I take the hon. Gentleman's point that they may be useful for some companies. I quote Sir David Tweedie:

"The whole question of aggressive earnings management is one of the big problems we are facing. If you can hold the share price for three or four years so you will be so rich that your family will be taken care of for generations to come, you can see what the temptations are going to be of just ramping the profit figures. That is why we are absolutely convinced that the way to deal with this sort of situation is to be pretty brutal . . . share options should be charged, if you control a special purpose entity you should consolidate it. Let us forget the exceptions, that is it. We will hear special pleading, 'We're different' but you soon learn that the world is a special case after a while in this job."

We must knock down such aggressive management and charge stock options as expenses.