KEEPING SCORE IN THE MONEY GAME

By: Charles Bowen

eComp Tallies Executive’s Compensation Nationwide





To get started, visit the site at http://www.ecomponline.com



Who is drawing the biggest paychecks in your state? How do the
salaries for your region’s top business executives compare with
the pay for their counterparts in other sections of the nation?
What are the bonus packages and other compensation for the leaders
of the major publicly traded companies in your readership area?



As usual, the Net knows – and is willing to share the wealth
of data. A powerful database called eComp invites reporters,
editors, students, and financial researchers to dig into salary
information for thousands of the nation’s highest-paid
executives.



Using the free site, you can search by company name, location,
stock symbol or business type. After you have corralled the
companies you’re interested in, you can get summaries for the top
executives of each, clicking on hyperlinked names for the
details.



The material comes as part of the disclosure system established
under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934. About eight years ago, the Securities and Exchange
Commission revised its rules concerning executive-compensation
disclosure to furnish more information to shareholders and
investors from certain corporate filings, such as proxy
statements. The revised rules were meant to create a more
understandable presentation of both of the nature and extent of
pay to corporate executives.



To explore this interesting business resource, visit the site
(http://www.ecomponline.com),
where a detailed search engine on the introductory page lets
you enter a company name, a stock-market ticker symbol, a state,
a market sector, and/or an industry. Fill in any of the fields
and click its adjacent “Search” button. This produces a
hyperlinked list of companies that match your query.



The ability to fill in more than one of the fields allows you to
target your list to motion-picture companies in New York or
computer services located in Ohio. On the resulting list, click
any company name for the details about its top executives,
including their names, titles, and salaries and bonuses, along
with the address and main telephone number of the business.



Additional links along the top of the results screen give you
even more reports, including:



Other Compensation, such as that executive’s restricted stock,
LTIP (long-term incentive plan) payouts and other annual
compensation that is not categorized as either salary or bonuses.

FYE (Fiscal Year-End) Stock Options, with information on the
number of options granted, their expiration date, and their
potential dollar value.

Exercised & Aggregate Stock Options, such as shares acquired on
exercise and their realized value.



Other considerations in using the database for your reporting and
editing:



Some of the terms used in the reports may be unfamiliar to
those who don’t regularly cover business and finance.
Fortunately, the site has some definition accessible from the
introductory page. Click the “Sample Report & Help” link at the
bottom of the main screen. The bottom of the resulting eight
pages lists definitions of eComp data items, such as “LTIP
Payouts” and “Potential Value of FYE Options.”

You also can purchase additional data to expand upon the free
reports you receive from eComp, including tax data, earnings
reports, and more. Links on the introductory page provide
connections to “Customized Data,” “Executive Compensation Survey
Services,” and “Sample Report.”

For other ideas in using the database in your work, check out
the site’s collection of linked heads at the top of the
introductory screen. Stories here illustrate how other newspapers
have used the resource for topics such as regional rankings of
pay and compensation packages.







Bowen writes columns, articles and books from West Virginia, and is host of the daily Internet News syndicated radio show (http://www.netnewstoday.com).

charlesbowen@compuserve.com





Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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