New Financial Derivatives Track Employee Options


I read in the WSJ this morning that Zions Bancorp is about to offer a new financial instrument that tracks employee stock options. They are seeking SEC approval to sell, via public auction, a security that mimics option grants to their employees. It is difficult to pin down the exact value of an unexercised option because it requires certain assumptions that may or may not prove to be correct. The idea behind Zions' offering is to pin down a market price for options, to make it easier to calculate the value of outstanding grants to employees. I think this is an excellent idea.

However, as Warren Buffett has said, "what the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end." Like most other financial markets, this new type of security will eventually attract speculators, which will lead to bubbles, which will lead to a bunch of people wondering why this type of security was ever offered in the first place.

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