HC Deb 09 January 2001 vol 360 cc493-4W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy to require companies to declare their policy towards stock options for their staff, the take-up and potential take-up of such options, and the effect on the companies' equity. [143879]

Dr. Howells

[holding answer 8 January 2001]: There are already a number of legislative and regulatory disclosure requirements in relation to stock options. The Companies Act 1985 requires companies to provide information relating to any option to subscribe for shares, including the number, description and amount of the shares in relation to which the right is exercisable and the price to be paid for the shares allotted. Listed companies are required under the Listing Rules to seek prior shareholder approval of an employees' share scheme involving the issue of new shares, and to send a circular to shareholders in connection with the approval including either the full text of the scheme or a description of its principal terms. The Government have no plans to require additional disclosures by companies in this area. We will, however, look carefully at these disclosure requirements when the final report of the independent Company Law Review is delivered later this year. There are, of course, fuller disclosure requirements in relation to company directors.