International Comparative Guides | 06 February 2019


There are a number of occasions when a company operating a share plan will need to exercise its discretion.  On grant, a decision needs to be made as to who will receive an award, how many shares will be subject to it and what other conditions (such as those relating to vesting and performance) will apply.  Plan rules often give the grantor a discretion as to how to treat awards held by leavers.  This might include deciding whether they are a “good” or “bad” leaver, whether and to what extent their award will vest and the point at which they will be able to exercise their rights.  The potential for having rights taken away at the apparent whim of the board could reduce the incentive value of share plan participation.  To redress this, it is common for plan rules to require that any discretion is exercised “fairly and reasonably” (indeed, certain UK tax-advantaged share plans will be expected to contain this qualification).  However, some plans are drafted to give the board an “absolute” discretion in certain circumstances.  Irrespective of the impact of such wording on employee morale, recent decisions in the English courts demonstrate that anybody exercising such a discretion needs to tread carefully. [Continue Reading]

Finance | 20 October 2016

Drawing on specialist judges from both the Chancery Division and the Commercial Court, the Financial List was introduced on 1 October 2015 and is designed to deal with disputes related to the financial markets, as well as complex, high-value claims concerning financial products. [Continue Reading]