ESOP Direct



The dotcom bubble and the new economy craze had given rise to the ESOP fable,
as it became an essential part of every HR manager’s manual. However, the aura
surrounding this golden key to the treasure chest was blown into smithereens
following the dotcom bloodbath and subsequent economic slowdown. Though ESOP has
made a comeback especially in the software sector, it is now tempered with a
more judicious outlook. However, for these companies implementation of ESOPs and
proper allocation is a complex process. Help, however, is close at hand in the
form of Pune-based ESOP Direct, part of KP ESOP Consulting of the KPIT Group,
that specializes in end-to-end solutions for ESOPs and manages ESOP programs for
Indian companies and offers remote administration of ESOPs to overseas
companies.

But what exactly comes under the ambit of these end-to-end solutions and how
come the company chose such a unique domain? Says Harshu Ghate, managing
director, ESOP Direct, "We started in 2000 by advising companies on
designing employee stock options, but later realized they needed lot of help on
implementation."

The ESOP Direct solution, therefore, takes care of myriad issues like legal
allocation of shares, data maintenance, eligibility issues related to attrition,
employee transfer onsite and subsequent NRI status, employees on contract and
lastly the changing pattern of holdings of the companies in the face of a spate
of M&A activities. This gave birth to ESOP Manager, the product from the
ESOP Direct stable that not only manages all these issues but also facilitates
communication to employees, informs about the options vesting and even handles
the database management.

Currently, ESOP Direct services around 15,000 employees across 25 clients
with the total value of options exceeding Rs 1000 crore. Quite naturally, this
includes several software companies like i-Flex, Hexaware, Tata Infotech, Patni
and Geometric. Also on the client roster are NASDAQ-listed companies like Sify
and Rediff plus companies like eGain and iSoft that are listed on the US and UK
bourses. In the last 6-8 months the company has made a shift into the non-IT
sector where it now services companies like UTI Bank, IDBI Bank, Wockhardt,
Mahindra & Mahindra, ACC, HPCL and Shoppers Stop while it acts as a
consulting partner for ITC.

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