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How to Determine Exercise Price for ESOP?

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Created on
March 23, 2023


What’s Inside

Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs) are a means for employees to get in on their company’s success. These plans help employees purchase company stock at a fixed price within a designated time frame. If you’re someone who’s often curious about the specifics of the exercise price and exercise period in ESOP. Here's what they mean. 

  1. Exercise Price: This is the value at which employees have the right to buy company stock. It is meant to be set at the stock’s fair market value at the time the stock options are made available. To acquire the stock, employees need to cover the exercise price amount.
  2. Exercise Period: This is the duration when the employee has the right to ‘exercise’ their options and purchase company stock. It begins on the grant date and terminates on the expiration date, as detailed in the ESOP agreement.

Steps to Determine the Exercise Price for ESOP

Having clarified the exercise price in ESOP, you can also authenticate whether it is in accordance with your company’s legal requirements. Here’s how you determine your ESOP’s exercise price: 

Step 1: Examine your ESOP Agreement

Examine the terms and conditions of your ESOP documents. You can learn what exercise price has been set for your ESOP and understand any provisions around setting the price.

Step 2: Look up the Present Stock Price

Check the existing market price of your company’s stock to determine the existing fair market value (FMV) when your ESOP options were granted.

Step 3: Compare Stock FMV to the Exercise Price

Compare the stock’s fair market value to the exercise price as specified in the ESOP agreement. When the exercise price is higher than the current FMV, the implication is that your company stock is ill-performing.

Step 4: Account for Legal Restrictions

Keep in mind that your company’s exercise price is adjusted to comply with any legal restrictions. Restrictions can include a minimum exercise price requirement so that businesses avoid tax evasion.

Step 5: Assess Company Financials

Examine various financial statements and other relevant metrics of your company. This will help you gauge its financial health and, subsequently, its impact on the exercise price in your ESOP.

Step 6: Consult a Tax Professional

If you are uncertain about your ESOP’s exercise price, consider getting the advice of a tax professional or another financial advisor.

Make the Most of your Money with Fi 

Owning company shares from your employer’s ESOP plan is a great way to grow your wealth and secure your financial future. However, making the most of them can be a challenging task. That’s why a personal finance assistant like Fi Money’s ‘Ask Fi’ can be an invaluable tool. Fi Money’s in-app AI assistant can help you manage your investments, build better monetary habits, meet all your financial goals & reward you for making noteworthy financial choices.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the meaning of exercise price in ESOP?

ESOP’s exercise price is the cost at which you can buy your own company’s shares. This price is usually set at the fair market value of your company’s stock at the time when the stock was made available to you in your ESOP agreement.

2. What is my exercise price?

To check your ESOP’s exercise price, look at your ESOP agreement. Compare the exercise price in the agreement against the fair market value of your company stock. Account for legal restrictions and provisions when comparing. You may also consult the aid of a tax professional to clarify any doubts.


Fi Money is not a bank; it offers banking services through licensed partners and investment services through epiFi Wealth Pvt. Ltd. and its partners. This post is for information only and is not professional financial advice.
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