The workload for financial advisors in Seattle and Austin lessened somewhat over the last few years, as big employers such as Microsoft and Dell curtailed their use of stock options.Across the nation, an increasing number of companies have moved toward alternative forms of employee incentive compensation in response to the sweeping changes in accounting rules regarding options expensing dictated by the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Despite a drop in usage, this form of compensation still creates wealth for clients and planning challenges for advisors. In addition to the task of keeping up with the changes in details of options plans and taxes, advisors draw on special skills to manage the emotional side of owning an employer's stock.

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