Pharma Executive with Complex Stock Options

Robert and Claire McDonough

Robert and Claire McDonough are both in their early 40s with twin eight-year-old boys. Claire works in the development office for an international non-profit and Robert is a cardiologist turned pharmaceutical executive working for a mid-sized company in Cambridge, MA. Robert’s medical education and years of training never prepared him to deal with the overabundance and complexity of equity compensation that his company would grant him, including incentive stock options (ISOs), non-qualified stock options (NSOs), restricted stock units (RSUs), and performance stock.

Over the past 20 years, Robert and Claire have “collected” a variety of old retirement accounts that they need to “clean up,” or at the very least review and manage more holistically, but they don’t know where to begin. Finally, a major goal of the McDonough’s is to deploy a large chunk of cash into the market towards their retirement goal, but they are intimidated by the recent spate of volatility and increasingly anxious about a potential market downturn over the coming years.

How Artemis Helped

  • Our first step was to help Robert and Claire get organized. We created a balance sheet with detailed notes for all their accounts, both old and current.
  • We then evaluated options for consolidating the old accounts, including rolling them into IRAs, rolling them into current employer plans, and leaving them as-is.
  • We undertook a thorough analysis of Robert’s equity compensation package. This entailed multiple conference calls with the plan’s custodian. Ultimately, Artemis crafted a 10B5-1 plan that enabled Robert to sell his stock options and RSUs on a pre-determined schedule so as not to violate insider trading regulations.
  • We educated Robert and Claire so they could understand the implications of investing in a difficult market environment. Robert had always felt undereducated in this area, so we shared with him the research on how various asset classes behave under different conditions and the role of each in a diversified portfolio.

How Robert And Claire Benefited

  • Robert and Claire’s old accounts from residency, fellowship, and several early career jobs are now consolidated into a more manageable set of accounts. The McDonough’s feel more financially organized than ever before.
  • Robert now has a more sophisticated strategy for his equity compensation that ensures he won’t lose out on expiring stock options while also enabling him to capture some of the potential upside should his company stock skyrocket.
  • We helped the McDonough’s to deploy their cash in a systematic manner by developing a strategy based on market valuations with a strict rules-based approach (which we call “modified dollar-cost averaging”). Our approach removed much of the fear of a market downturn and helped them overcome the inertia of investing a large amount of cash (that can stymie even the most disciplined investors).

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