Software/Outsourcing for small and private companies

Hi all, I've gotten 3 or 4 inquiries lately from small, private firms looking for some reasonably priced software and/or outsourcing to assist with options and RS. The companies mentioned have been eProsper, Equity Focus, and EASi I have not had direct dealings with any of these, although I've spoken with and seen the eProsper and EASi software (never heard of Equity Focus). So, I thought I'd start putting out a few feelers to see if anyone has info/opinions on any of these three, or others. I know AST has restarted as well, but I'm not sure what their target client base is. Any info or a call to discuss would be appreciated.

Replies to this Topic

  Susan,

  I agree, this is becoming a hot issue.  I have seen all three packages and they all have some excellent positives and a few drawbacks.  I hope more ECE members provide their feedback on this one.  With companies public companies getting taken private and new private companies staring up all the time, we need a good resource of possible providers.

  Equity Focus is TwoStep's system.  It can be linked with their corporate secretary system Corporate Focus.  The biggest drawback is that it is really not designed to support public companies.  This means that companies would need to convert if they go public.  The biggest positive is that you can use as much or as little of it as you like.  You don't need to set up a million things to get started.  It also has very good
FAS 123R reporting.  It can also be VERY cheap.  Their model is based on a model of do-it-yourself.

  eProsper is designed more for the Silicon Valley, "we're gonna go public" type of company.  Although it does not really support public companies, several skilled pubic company admins have worked on the system over the past decade.  I personally believe its strength is in its compatibility to some of the big area law firms.  The system is designed to support what they design and do.  They also have some skilled private company experts on staff.  Their model is based on a combo of outsourcing and do-it-yourself.

  EASi is an excllent software, but I think their focus has turned more to public companies and outsourcing vendors.  This can be a blessing and a curse.  Among the three they are the best suited for a company going public. They also have the least experience on issues important to private companies like stock journals, legends etc.  The software handles them, but perhaps not as elegantly as the others. Their model is based on "do-it-yourself.

  AST EPS is back in the martket, but their focus is public companies.  If the company is about to go public the system is a good fit, but their service is not designed around long-term private company admin (unless the company is fairly large).  Their model is based on full outsourcing.

  StockTrans (a Transfer Agent out of Pennsylvania) also has an interesting package.

  If the company is looking to public at some point Solium's ShareWorks system can handle private company stuff (but not as fully as the first three listed).

Susan,

You should also consider Trascentive Software. (Computershare) Their EO software product handles administration for private companies as well as the ability to continue to administer them when they go public. They have an enhanced financial reporting ability for private companies.

Contact Information for private markets over there is Joe Kunecki 203-944-7300 ext 148. He will be able to provide you with the information you need to assist your private clients.

Dan did a good job of explaining the other vendors. Just wanted to add this one in.

 

Kristina

Hi Susan,

   As Kristina mentioned in her post, we here at Transcentive do offer our product for privately held companies. Additionally to our abilty to handle your stock option plan, we can also track infromation for your share holders and warrant holders. Please don't heistate to contact me if you have any specific questions or situations.

Joe

 

 

Edited Mon, May 12, 2008 8:24 AM

I received an inquiry from a CFO at a private company asking about software packages.  He had experience with Equity Edge but thinks it is too expensive for them at this stage in the game.  I tried to give him a list and this posting was helpful while gathering info so thought I should share my results.  Please let me know if anyone is missing or if any comments you can share on those listed!  Thanks.

  • Equity Edge from ETrade
  • Transcentive from Computershare
  • EASi
  • Equity Focus from Two Step
  • eProsper
  • OptionTrax
  • Mission Mpower
  • Solium

If you are looking for an Equity Compensation solution, I'd like to tell you why thousands of public and private companies have relied on Transcentive as a solution for nearly 30 years. With that kind of tenure, Transcentive has become the only single source of TOTAL equity compensation program management in the industry. Our solution includes:

FAS123R reporting solutions - Total, full-time access to all your reporting needs, as you need it.

Robust Audit capability - Full Audit capabilities with tracking of all database changes to help with audit, control, and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance needs making audit time less painful.

We offer a wide range of Advisory Services - We are the only provider that offers a full process and procedure review to ensure you have the benefit of an analysis of your entire equity environment, regardless of the technology you use.

For Private Companies, we have the added functionality for cap table management with our Share Tracking module.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this further.

Joe Kunecki

Manager, Private Markets Sales

Transcentive

203.944.7300 x 148

joe.kunecki@transcentive.com

 

Carole,

Thanks for getting this started.  The ECE site is planning a "Provider Info" area for the near future. As a preview...

Here's a list of providers in the software world.  Each of these providers allows complete or deep access to their system by corporate users and does not generally require outsourcing be included.  (these are no particular order, you can search on any of these via Google to obtain more information until such time as the ECE Provider Area is live.)

  1. OptionEase
  2. OptionTrax (StockTrans)
  3. Options Central (Mission Mpower)
  4. Equity Focus (Two Step)
  5. EASi
  6. EZ-Custom
  7. ShareWorks (Solium Capital)
  8. The Boardroom Software
  9. E-Prosper
  10. Monidee
  11. Capita
  12. Norse Solutions
  13. OPTRACK

    and the two biggest players
  14. Equity Edge (E*Trade)
  15. Transcentive (Computershare)

Any of the systems above can be the right solution for a company with the right specific needs.  Cost is a component, but functionality should always be the key driver in the selection of any software solution. Some of these providers focus more on the private market, others focus more on the public market.  Some focus equally on private and public markets.

The ECE Provider Info area will expand on the information provided here.

This list is not comprehensive.  I know there are additional systems outside the US (India, France, UK etc..).  Please add any additional systems that you may know of.

As for Outsourcing providers, the list is long and is growing.  The key here is understanding what the company and provider mean by the term "Outsourcing".  I have provided a list below, which is incomplete.  If you know of additional providers please list them.  Again, these re in no sort of order....

Brokerage-based:

  1. UBS
  2. Merrill Lynch
  3. Fidelity
  4. Smith Barney
  5. Charles Schwab
  6. E*Trade
  7. HBOS
  8. Killik Employee Shares Services
  9. Credit Suisse Employee Stock Option Service
  10. Barclays Stockbrokers Limited

Transfer / Bank/ Trust Agent-based:

  1. BNY-Mellon
  2. Computershare
  3. RBS cees
  4. Appleby

Independent - large

  1. AST EPS
  2. Solium
  3. Equiniti
  4. Global Shares
  5. SG Vestia
  6. Halliwell Integra
  7. Capita Share Plan Services
  8. FRS
  9. MyEquityComp

Note: Most of the providers above shy away from supporting private companies, unless there is an IPO being planned for the midterm future.

Susan,

EASi can help private companies because it is hosted and does not require any IT resources, which are usually hard to command at any company. EASi is also SAS70 Type II compliant. The system is muli-security capable so the issuer can put in as many stock classes as needed along with convertibles. There is a cap table, stock ledger, and ownership percentage report, along with the ability to issue, transfer. or repurchase multiple security types.

EASi also includes an employee web portal in its base offerings to private companies where employees can see all of their awards, plan documents, and even model exercises.If the company chooses to keep its books like a public company EASi provides private companies with full FAS123r compliance including the required SEC disclosures.

EASi even provides a shadow database "sandbox" so that companies can perform any corporate action to see what results will be or see the expense of future awards before they are issued. Lastly EASi handles performance award administration and accounting, which is unique in the industry to my knowledge. EASi also traps out of period transactions and accounts for the expense in the proper fiscal period according to GAAP.

Feel free to contact me anytime if you need or want more information.

 

Don Gillotti VP of Sales  Equity Administration Solutions, Inc. don.gillotti@easiadmin.com 203-439-7058

MissionMpower Equity Central product also works well with private companies and pre-IPO companies,  it easily goes from private to public without any additional stress on the company.

Susan,

As Dan outlined, Two Step's Equity Focus is focused on the tracking needs of private companies by CFOs and by their law firms.  The system will allow you to track your stock, convertible stock, options, and restricted stock information and then do the FAS 123R reporting.  Since it's used by most of the top law firms that represent these types of companies, in addition to ownership tracking, you are able to track all of your legal supporting documentation.  With over 150,000 companies tracked, it's the largest collection of stock and option records being tracked for non-public and VC backed companies.  If a company is using a law firm to do this type of work, there's a good chance that they are already using our system.  A brief sampling of some of our law firm customers can be found on our web site here: http://bit.ly/OhPIC.

You can find more information about our offering at www.twostep.com.  Please feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to discuss Equity Focus with you.

Jeremy Wright
Vice President of Customer Services
Two Step Software, Inc.
jwright@twostep.com
781-972-5233

As an Outsourcing Provider, My Equity Comp welcomes public or private companies of any size, big or small.  You can partially outsource just certain functions (ie ESPP only, Restricted Stock only, etc) or you can outsource all of your equity compensation needs to us so that you can focus on your other responsibilities within your organization.

Please visit our website, http://www.myequitycomp.com/services.html, for more information on our Outsourcing Services we provide or feel free to call us at 888-8EQ-COMP (888-837-2667) for more information.

Thanks,

Gary Hamilton
Director of Business Development  
My Equity Comp - Your Equity Compensation Consulting Experts
1-888-8EQ-COMP (888-837-2667)
Testimonials / www.myequitycomp.com

Edited Thu, May 28, 2009 2:12 PM

Great information presented here!

To Susan with the original inquiry:  

Having been a participant in demos from most of the software providers listed, I found that the top 6 software solutions on Carole's list were full-functionality software for managing and administering equity plans.  But many applications are great with FAS123(R) or act as an Access database but really don't cover all administration functionality.  Be careful. 

Our private-company customers that are moving off Excel who need a low-cost solution and full functionality are selecting:

EASi, eProsper, Equity Focus and OptionTrax.  I can send you our comparison chart so that you can see the high points and low points for each.

Marianne Brannock-Hill, CEO

FRS Equity Strategies

Outsourcing, Consulting and Training for Equity Compensation

Dear Susan:

Thank you for posting your inquiry about stock compensation programs.

OptionEase is a good fit for both privately held and publicly traded companies. Our web based SaaS model addresses accounting compliance as well as full administration requirements. OptionEase supports Black Scholes, Lattice and other valuation methods,  FAS 123R reporting, Proxy reports, Earnings Per Share and other SEC requirements. For private companies, we provide CAP table functionality with Ledger entries, Warrant valuation and more.

OptionEase provides a very comprehensive module for tracking performance awards, modifications due to option exchange, re-pricing and non employee awards. All this is provided with a secure audit trail.

One of our private customers who signed up two years ago went IPO last week. They were the first venture backed company to IPO in a significant time. OptionEase helped with all reporting requirements and transactions.

OptionEase has won the Red Herring Top 100 Technology Companies Award on May 13, 2009.

Please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss more.

Thanks,

Greeshma

Greeshma Shenoy
Manager, Sales
OptionEase, Inc.
949.542.3800 ext 713
www.optionease.com

 

 

 

 

Profile Image for Laura A. Laura
  • Mon, Jun 1, 2009 7:18 AM

Thank you for posting this wealth of information.  Just to touch a bit more on OptionTrax, we offer a complete stock administration web-based platform that can be licensed for in-house use or outsourced and managed by our experienced administrators.  We are SAS70 II compliant and offer full FAS123(R) capability as well as custom reporting (standard, FAS, Proxy) and a number of other "nice to haves" in addition to the the must haves.

We also offer a very user friendly participant portal. 

We are broker neutral and can work with the broker of your choice. 

OptionTrax is built for both private and public company use.

If you haven't viewed our system yet or if it has been awhile, please take the time to see this product during your decision making.

For additional information or to schedule a demo, please call Laura Abarca at 484-883-8982 or email labarca@optiontrax.com

Thanks,

Laura

Wow, Susan, look what you started!  . . . and thanks!

My company, Corefino, provides outsource accounting to mostly non-public companies and also does equity administration for those that have equity compensation plans.  We've been using EASi since October 2006 (after migrating away from eProsper) and find EASi to be very flexible in working with us to meet specific non-public company needs.  The cost point is also significantly more compatible with non-public company budgets than some of the other solutions mentioned here.

I'd be happy to talk with anyone about the specific reasons why we chose EASi, why we stay with EASi, and answer any questions they might have.

Thanks, Achaessa

Achaessa James, CEP
Corefino - www.corefino.com
DID 650-267-2924

TEAM_FAQ.pdf

Hi Susan,

SOS is now offering a long-term solution for companies looking for partial or full management and administration of their stock plans, TEAM (Total Equity Administration & Management).   Now in our 10th year of business, SOS has always provided interim assistance for companies in need of stock plan management expertise, as well as stretegic and technological guidance to our customers.  In response to our clients' demand for a more flexible, scalable, and continual model for managing their programs, we have utilized our experience and consultant depth (60+, with expertise in a variety of areas, including financial reporting, international, best practices, equity systems, and technological) to build a solution that meets their challenges. 

TEAM is the SOS long-term approach to sharing the equity administration and management responsibilities with our clients and their partners.  By providing  a full-service solution and access to the entire SOS-team of experts, no challenge is too great, no chore too small as we fill the gaps as determined by our customer.  SOS can perform any and all tasks that encompass the equity administration function, or manage the whole department. 

We have introduced the TEAM approach with over a dozen clients, and will be rolling it out fully this summer.  To that end, we are hosting a webinar this month to introduce TEAM on a national level, and hope that everyone will attend. 

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about TEAM, please contact me at 408-979-8715.  I have also attached an FAQ on TEAM.

Thanks, and thank you again for posting this topic,

Scott McDonald

Sales Manager, Stock & Option Solutions

408 979-8715

smcdonald@sos-team.com

Visit us at www.sos-team.com

 

Please consider the Option TrackerTM software for your Employee Stock Option and Restricted Stock Plan administration, valuation and financial reporting requirements.

Option TrackerTM is used by more than 300 small to medium sized companies (public and private) with a need to simplify ESO administration, fair value calculations and mandated financial reporting. The Black-Scholes, Binomial Lattice and volatility models in the Option TrackerTM comply with SFAS 123R/128/148 and SEC valuation and reporting standards. The software and support is also very competitively priced.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at 610-688-8111.

Thanks,

Montgomery Investment Technology, Inc.
www.fintools.com

 

Edited Mon, Jun 8, 2009 11:58 AM

I am interested to know if there are any software companies out there who would be willing to offer training on their product so that I can become more familar with the various software products out there.  I am very interested in broadening my awareness in this respect. As I become more proficient in the various tools, I could prospectively provide representation in the San Francisco Bay Area to potential clients. Please let me know.

Greetings Susan - To reply to your original topic question .......

Thanks for asking this question, and thanks also to everyone for all the responses and information sharing this is really great information !  

This is the most frequently asked question I receive from my clients representing a constant reminder that employers have many choices for combining the right resources, products, services and providers to support their equity programs offering.

As a 20+ year veteran of Executive Compensation and equity program consulting for businesses of all shapes, sizes and configurations, I have been very fortunate to have found the key to my successful partnering with my clients, employers and alliances world-wide.

My preference is working with SG Vestia and Optrack - locally, globally - private or public, new venture or mature businesses - no matter what size or complexity of equity program(s) offered or maintained.

Patricia Malstrom

Managing Director

HC / Global HR Consulting

patmalstrom@gmail.com

 

 

Just learned about another stock admin software package.  This one is from Cezanne, a company out of France.

 

http://www.cezannesw.com/solutions/stock-option/

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