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Foster & Motley: Your Quarterback for P&G’s New Option Platform

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On January 14, Procter & Gamble officially moved its stock-option platform to E*Trade. Over the years, P&G executives have comprised anywhere from a quarter to half of our client base, so we were prepared to analyze this new development for maximum benefit. In fact, I just worked with a P&G retiree to set up their E*Trade account and establish new limit orders on his stock options.

Overall, the client and I found the new E*Trade experience to be much improved over the legacy platform. E*Trade is only used for stock options and not restricted stock units. The single biggest change is that trades are now placed in real time, and not batched several times per day like they used to be. In addition, limit orders are only good for 60 days, and must be re-entered if the order isn’t filled within this timeframe.

Setting up your account is simple once you get an email with your authentication code. If you haven’t received such an email, simply go to www.etrade.com/activate to get started. Some observations from going through the set-up process:

  • It asked for a lot of personal information, which evidently, they are required to do by law.
  • E*Trade says they’re not soliciting additional business, but there are plenty of “opportunities” to work with their advisors and other resources.
  • There are different cash options, with different yields and tax implications, but if you’re choosing a cashless exercise, this isn’t really important.
  • There’s a tax center which should help you collect everything in one place come tax time.
  • When reviewing your options be sure to go under the main header of “stock plan.” There are additional headers such as “accounts” and “trading” but all the work you’ll do for your stock options will be under “stock plan.”
  • You can elect a joint or individual account to hold your options. There are important estate planning considerations with each type of account, so choose carefully.
  • If your credit is frozen, you may have to call E*Trade to verify your identity. (The client I worked with has their credit frozen but E*Trade didn’t require this extra step like they indicated they would.)
Once that set-up is complete, exercising your options takes three easy steps.
  1. Choose cash or shares 
  2. Choose market order or limit order 
  3. Select the grant you want to exercise and how many shares

Importantly, help desk answers are readily accessible if you encounter problems. You can contact the specific stock-option teams for both E*Trade and P&G. The E*Trade stock-option team can be reached at 1-800-838-0908 Monday through Friday, 24 hours a day. The P&G stock-option team can be reached at stockopt.im@pg.com. We’ve found both to be very responsive. Of course, your Foster & Motley team is always here to help as well and can be reached at 513-561-6640 and info@fosterandmotley.com or by reaching out directly to your advisor.