Wealth Planning

A Few Mysteries Explained: Nike's Transitioned Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)

Todd Brundage
July 24, 2019

In the last two months Nike moved the ESPP program from E-Trade to Fidelity. After reviewing the accounts I thought it would be helpful to explain a few peculiarities. I have not communicated with either organization on this matter but this is what I have surmised.

Why do I still have a balance in the E-trade account?

You will find that you likely have a balance in your old E-trade account. When you received dividends in your old ESPP account, unless you instructed them otherwise, E-trade used them to buy Nike stock. When these accounts transitioned this pocket of stock stayed at E-trade in Nike Stock which explains your balance.

Where is the Nike Stock that I bought at E-Trade?

You will find that your ESPP Stock that was purchased with E-Trade was dumped into a brokerage account at Fidelity and does not reside in your ESPP account. I imagine all the stock you buy with fidelity will stay in this ESPP account, making it easy to track, but the old stock you bought with E-trade went into a brokerage account and shows as one big holding of Nike stock which creates a problem.

How do I know what period of Nike Stock to sell from the old E-Trade ESPP account to minimize my taxes?

Since all the stock is grouped together in one account it makes it difficult to know what period of stock to sell to minimize taxes. If you view your brokerage account by the "lots" view you will be able to see the stock in the different periods allowing you to decide which lot to sell and minimize your taxes. It is recommended to wait 18 months from purchase to sell stock to minimize taxes. The only time this isn't important is if you anticipate a decline in the stock, particularly below your cost of purchase, which is quite difficult to anticipate.

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