A number of prominent economists and finance experts have lent their names to a call to repeal a stock option-reform measure adopted last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the Los Angeles Times, venture capitalist Kip Hagopian has lead an argument that stock options aren't an actual corporate expense, but a "gain-sharing instrument." The SEC rule requires companies to deduct from their earnings the value of options granted to employees.

Hagopian laid out his case in a recent issue of a UC Berkeley business school journal, in an opinion piece co-signed by 29 other finance professionals and economists, including former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill and Nobel-Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. The group plans to petition the Securities and Exchange Commission to revisit the option-expensing rule.

Hagopian sayd that under the terms defined by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, options don't meet the definition of a corporate expense, which he says are termed "the past, current or future consumption of cash."

The options expense rule is not directly tied to the SEC's recent investigations into possible "backdating" of stock option grants.

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