Taking Stock

A new accounting rule restrains a favorite form of executive pay

IN A PROFESSION WHOSE IDEA OF EXCITEMENT IS sharpening a bundle of No. 2 pencils, last Wednesday's meeting of the Financial Accounting Standards Board was the equivalent of Woodstock. At a rare standing-room-only gathering captured by even rarer camera crews, the FASB decided by a 6-to-1 vote to force companies to deduct from their earnings the value of stock options awarded to managers. Stock incentives, which account for as much as 90% of corporate executive income, have come under attack by critics of excessive pay. The rule change, which could reduce declared profits as much as 48%, should discourage companies from...

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