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  • Writer's pictureRobert Adelson

Phantom Stock as Executive Compensation for Family Businesses

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

This new article is designed not only for C-level and senior executives, but even for many directors and mid-level executives, who currently work in a family business or are offered a position in a family business and received NO executive equity compensation because most family businesses do not issue equity to non-family members.

My article discusses the use of phantom stock as a mean to give the executive a substitute to equal for him or her all the benefits of stock, options or RSUs. This technique also benefits the family business by not only avoiding use of actual stock and offering a key executive recruitment / retention tool but also providing a technique where all payments are tax deductible.

The technique is highly beneficial to CEOs and senior executives because it not only gives him or her a meaningful stake in the growth of the company, but also offers the possibility for capital gains level taxation, plus a liquidity feature often missing in stock plans of private companies.

IvyExec hosts articles and webinars from experts in the career, leadership, and business spaces who wish to share their knowledge with our audience. In April 2021, I was invited to write for IvyExec since it seeks original content on the topics of career development, leadership, and business strategy as it applies to senior-level and C-Suite professionals. IvyExec blog posts and webinars are shared with its community of more than 2 million members on its website, in its newsletter, and on its social media channels.

It is my hope that this article will be of benefit to C-level and senior executives who have the opportunity or should have the opportunity to gain an equity stake in the family businesses that their management skills and efforts or helping to build, so that you along with the family owners can share in the benefits of that company growth.

Family business owners do have good reason to avoid taking on minority owners, but that does not mean you, as the non-family executive, need to be deprived of the kind of equity or equity-like stake you would receive in a non-family business. My article suggests a way to do this — to the benefit of the non-family executive and the family business owners too. Feel free to tweet or share this article. If you or any colleague of yours has a need in this area, please do reach out to me.

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