Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley at Work Unveils Findings From Annual Stock Plan Participant Survey

Feb 3, 2022

  • 69% of participants agree that stock plan benefits are a way for their company to recognize their contributions.

  • Only one out of three participants (33%) are very or extremely confident they know how to maximize the financial benefit of stock plan benefits.

New York -

Morgan Stanley at Work today released the findings from its annual Stock Plan Participant Survey. Building off the organization’s recent State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Report, the participant study takes a deep dive into the participant experience, exploring the value and benefits of stock plans, how participants leverage their stock plans benefits and how they are a driving factor in employee retention. Among the notable findings from the study:

  • Nearly three out of five (58%) participants view equity compensation as a reason they have stayed with their current employer. Further, around two out of five (41%) participants note their equity awards are a reason they joined their current employer.
  • Yet equity compensation is thought of more as extra pay than as a core part of their financials. Slightly more participants view equity compensation as “extra pay I don’t count on” (44%) than believe it is “A core part of my compensation, like my salary” (39%).
  • Participant perception of stock plans is positive. In fact, 69% agree that stock plan benefits are a way for their company to recognize their contributions.
  • Tax implications continue to confound. Nearly two out of three (66%) aren’t confident that they understand how taxes may affect their stock plan benefits.
  • Most participants are also not very confident in how to maximize the financial benefit of their equity awards. Only one out of three participants (33%) are very or extremely confident they know how to maximize the financial benefit of stock plan benefits.
  • Few seem to be choosing to keep the equity as is or use the proceeds as cash. Two out of five have not sold their vested shares, while nearly one out of three deposited the proceeds into a checking or savings account. Only 17% used the proceeds to invest in the market through a brokerage account.

“The research underlines the important role equity compensation continues to play when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent,” said Kate Winget, Managing Director and Head of Corporate and Participant Engagement for Morgan Stanley at Work. “That said, while equity compensation is clearly a powerful motivator, there is more work to do to ensure participants have the knowledge and resources they need to make the most out of this benefit. Equity compensation can play a critical role in helping employees save and prepare for their future—education plays a crucial role in helping move the needle in that direction.”

Additional findings from the Morgan Stanley at Work Stock Plan Participant study are available here.

Methodology: The data from the Morgan Stanley at Work 2021 Annual Stock Plan Participant Survey comes from an in-house survey sent to 1.2 million Morgan Stanley and E*TRADE active, U.S. domestic stock plan participants. The survey was conducted on behalf of Morgan at Stanley at Work using an online survey between September 30 and October 15, 2021 for Morgan Stanley and September 9 and September 23, 2021 for E*TRADE.

About Morgan Stanley at Work
Morgan Stanley at Work offers a suite of financial solutions, which spans Equity Compensation through Shareworks and E*TRADE Equity Edge Online, Retirement and Financial Wellness Solutions. Morgan Stanley at Work combines cutting-edge planning and risk management software, Morgan Stanley intellectual capital and financial education delivered through multiple channels to enable employees to build a holistic plan to achieve their financial goals. Employee stock plan solutions, including Equity Edge Online, are part of the Morgan Stanley at Work solutions and are offered by E*TRADE Corporate Services, Inc. Morgan Stanley at Work currently has offices in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific.

About Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, a global leader, provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, cash management and lending products and services, annuities and insurance, retirement and trust services.

About Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

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