Agencies start stock pool to fight allure of dot-coms

SAN FRANCISCO: Applied Communications and FitzGerald Communications, two of hi-tech’s hottest independents, announced plans last week to keep their best staffers from straying to dot-coms armed with stock options.

SAN FRANCISCO: Applied Communications and FitzGerald Communications, two of hi-tech’s hottest independents, announced plans last week to keep their best staffers from straying to dot-coms armed with stock options.

SAN FRANCISCO: Applied Communications and FitzGerald

Communications, two of hi-tech’s hottest independents, announced plans

last week to keep their best staffers from straying to dot-coms armed

with stock options.



Under the terms of the plans, each firm will pool the securities and

stock of client companies and distribute gains from the fund to

employees.



Applied’s program will distribute units of its investment pool on a 3

1/2-year vesting schedule to all 75 of the firm’s full-time

employees.



The number of units individual employees receive will vary according to

a formula that factors in tenure and seniority.



According to Kelly, the ’vast majority’ of current Applied clients

(which include such heavy hitters as Oracle and AltaVista) are

represented in the pool. In the future, participation by clients will be

a requirement of working with Applied, ’with very few exceptions,’ he

said.



Applied client Sheryl Ross, senior director of corporate marketing for

STC, said she was happy to contribute equity to the program: ’I have a

strong belief that both the agency and client have a responsibility to

maintain great employees on an account.’



FitzGerald is still ironing out details of its plan, according to CEO

Maura FitzGerald. ’We’re creating a fund that enables the agency to

accept stock from certain clients and make the liquidity from trades in

that pool available to every one of our full-time employees,’ FitzGerald

said.



Applied and FitzGerald’s plans reflect a growing trend in the Silicon

Valley region, where agencies compete heavily for prospective employees

with pre-IPO dot-coms offering stock options. Other firms reportedly on

the verge of introducing similar programs are Niehaus Ryan Wong and

Interactive Public Relations, which had a similar program before it

became part of the Omnicom network in 1998.



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