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Created: October 08, 2002.
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HR-XML Consortium Announces Employee Stock Plan Interface Standard.

A new specification produced by the HR-XML Consortium Employee Share Plans Workgroup has been approved as an HR-XML Recommendation. The Employee Stock Plans Interface 1.0 specification defines standard, vendor-neutral data definitions for the transfer of stock plan data. The standard "promises new efficiencies and cost savings for employers, third-party administrators, brokers, and other stakeholders involved in the administration of stock-based compensation programs. In addition, the specification will enable easy compilation of data required for reporting and compliance." The Version 1.0 release includes ten XML schemas as well as a primary prose document. This initial version of the specification is designed to support the administration of stock option programs. It describes the elements required to exchange data related to the administration of employee share plans, including the expected usage of those elements, and the business processes meant to be supported. A future version will address employee stock purchase plans and other types of plans.

Bibliographic information: Employee Stock Plans Interface 1.0. HR-XML Recommendation 2002-Oct-07. Edited by Daniela Goerke (SAP AG), Bill Kerr (Oracle Corporation), and Brad Reynolds (PricewaterhouseCoopers). Authors: Daniela Goerke (SAP AG), Andreas Bold (SAP AG), Bill Kerr (Oracle Corporation), Nancy Mesereau (Transcentive), Dave Griffin (Transcentive), Evelyn Fuchs (Authoria), Peter Howells (Howells Associates), and Martin Blaschek (Commerzbank). Other contributors include members of the Employee Stock Plans Workgroup. Reference: 'EmployeeStockPlansInterface-1_0'. 66 pages. [cache]

XML schemas include: ExerciseConfirmation-1_0.xsd; ExerciseRequest-1_0.xsd; Grant-1_0.xsd; RemoveExerciseConfirmations-1_0.xsd; RemoveExerciseRequests-1_0.xsd; RemoveGrants-1_0.xsd; RemoveStockPlanParticipants-1_0.xsd; RemoveStockPlans-1_0.xsd; StockPlan-1_0.xsd; StockPlanParticipant-1_0.xsd.

"The HR-XML Stock plan interface specification supports a range of activities related to generating and exchanging data for employee stock plans. The major components are:

  • The StockPlan schema defines the data used to create and maintain plan records for stock option, stock purchase, and stock award programs. Plan information is sent as a one-time, set-up document and, as necessary, as a maintenance document to update plan information.
  • The StockPlanParticipant schema defines data used to create and maintain records for participants in the plans.
  • The Grant schema defines the data necessary to create and maintain grants issued to participants in a stock option plan.
  • The ExerciseRequest schema is used to transmit all exercise instructions to the broker so the broker knows when and how to exercise the options. Exercise information is sent as the transactions occur. There can be multiple exercise transactions for one grant over a period of time.
  • The ExerciseConfirmation schema defines confirmation information that is sent back to the administrator and / or the sponsoring company as the broker executes transactions.

From the announcement:

To attract and retain employees, many employers reward their workers with stock options or offer employees the opportunity to purchase stock through an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP). A third-party administrator or broker often handles the administration of these programs and the exercise of options or selling of stock. Because of a lack of e-business standards for ESPP and stock option programs, expensive custom interfaces must be built between employer systems and those of stock plan administrators and brokers. The HR- XML Consortium's stock plan specification offers a standardized interface as an alternative to expensive custom interfaces. Version 1.0 of the standard provides the definitions necessary for the administration of stock option programs. A future version of the specification also will support employee stock purchase programs and other types of plans.

"Stock option and stock purchase programs are key motivators and a highly prized component of employee compensation," said Daniela Goerke, Development Manager, SAP, and chair of HR-XML's stock plan workgroup. "Standards developed by our stock plan workgroup will enable employers to deploy cost- effective, self-service 'HR portals' for employees to exercise stock options or purchase stock under an ESPP," according to Goerke.

"Employee self-service and HR Portals are becoming the norm for all types of companies," commented Bill Kerr, Principal Software Engineer, Oracle, and member of the HR-XML Consortium Board of Directors. "The HR-XML Consortium Stock Plan Interface Standard will streamline the deployment of self-service facilities that provide employees with rich and timely information and speedy execution of exercise requests," according to Kerr.

"HR-XML's stock plan interface specification represents a major breakthrough for international companies who must manage data from multiple HR systems for mobile and global workforces," said Gordon Rapkin, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Transcentive. "The specification offers efficiencies for all parties involved in stock plan administration -- employers, third-party services providers, and brokers -- while providing a higher level of service to employees," Rapkin said.

HR-XML Consortium member companies sponsoring the stock plan workgroup included Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, Fidelity Investments, Transcentive and Watson Wyatt Worldwide.

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