New guidance from Securities and Exchange Commission regulators sets limits on ways to determine the cost of stock options, though the new SEC chairman said that the report was "tentative."Chief accountant Donald Nicolaisen, who will leave the SEC in October, wrote in a statement that he had doubts as to whether the creation of a financial instrument to mimic employee stock options would be an accurate tool. And chief economist Chester Spatt wrote in a memo from the SEC's Office of Economic Analysis that such an instrument would face the inherent difficulty of reconciling market price with the fair value of stock options.
Though not named in either document, technology company Cisco Systems Inc. suggested the financial instrument route earlier this summer. Saying that valuation methods proposed by regulators put too high a value on stock options, Cisco had offered a market-based alternative.
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