Under an ESOP plan, options cannot be converted into shares until they have vested.
To create a Vesting Schedule for an ESOP grant in Orchestra, you need to be an Administrator for the company. In the Orchestra menu, select the 'ESOP & Options' tab and the ESOP pool and grant that you want to set-up the vesting schedule for.
Under an ESOP, vesting normally takes the form of:
- Automatic time-based vesting and/or
- Manual/Performance-based vesting
Automatic or time-based vesting can either occur by way of Regular or One-off vesting, the use of a Cliff or a combination of these:
- Under Regular vesting, the options can vest periodically over a period of time (generally monthly, quarterly or yearly).
- For One-off vesting, you choose a specific date when the vesting will occur.
- Using a Cliff, a certain amount of options vest after an initial period has passed. For example, 6 months worth of options will only vest 6 months from the start of the ESOP grant.
The below is an example grant with vesting schedule details:
- Grant date: January 1st 2019
Call Options granted: 240
Automatic vesting schedule: Monthly for 2 years (24 months) with a 12-month cliff
Expiry date: December 31st 2025
This can be set-up in Orchestra by clicking on the 'Create schedule' button in the grant and entering the details:
The cliff and vesting schedule for this example is displayed in the grant visualisation summary below. Due to the 12 month cliff starting from 1 Jan 2019, the vesting begins on 1 Jan 2020 and is completed by 1 Jan 2021:
For regular automatic vesting, only whole options are vested (no fractions). Orchestra rounds down calculations, and any remaining options are vested in the final vesting period.
Manual / performance-based vesting
For Manual or Performance based vesting, the options will vest on the achievement of some defined milestone or performance hurdle. If the options don't vest (for example, because the milestone is never achieved), they lapse. This means they can no longer be vested or exercised by that employee.
The manual vesting schedule can be set-up in Orchestra, and the Administrator will need to approve or decline when the vesting date arrives:
Approval required by the Admin:
Key points on creating and editing vesting schedules
- You can backdate the vesting schedule and Orchestra will calculate the vesting events and update the participant's details to the current day.
- You cannot edit a regular automatic vesting schedule that has processed vesting events. If the schedule is incorrect, delete the schedule, delete the vesting events from the grant history, and load a new schedule.
- Editing an automatic vesting schedule that has commenced vesting may produce inaccurate vesting events.
To halt a vesting schedule, Admins can go to Settings on the relevant ESOP page, and pause vesting for a single grant, for all grants in the pool, or for all grants in the company:
Options do not vest if:
- the options are expired
- the option grant has been cancelled