Share Retainer

An indicator of executive optimism

Introduced in "Stocking Up: Executive Optimism, Option Exercise, and Share Retention" with Rik Sen


Share Retainer identifies executives that retain some shares received from option exercise as optimistic. It is defined as 1 (optimistic) if the cumulative shares retained by a CEO on days with option exercise during a fiscal year exceeds 1% and 0 (not optimistic) otherwise. On each day during which the CEO exercises an option, we compute the number of shares retained as the difference between the number of shares obtained from exercise and the number of shares sold. This value is set to 0 if the CEO sold more shares than were obtained from exercise. The percent shares retained from option exercise is equal to the total number of shares retained divided by the total number of shares exercised over the fiscal year. When Share Retainer is not available for a CEO during a fiscal year, we use the most recent computed value.

Updated 10 May 2015

The current dataset was constructed for the tests in Stocking Up. It covers CEOs that are found in both the Thomson Reuters Insider Filings (Thomson) and Compustat Executive Compensation (ExecuComp) datasets through 2012. An expanded dataset is being developed to cover all Thomson executives and to extend the sample period through 2014. Please sign up for email notifications if you would like to be updated when this dataset is available.

Data Availability

To access this data, you or your institution must have active subscriptions to Thomson and Execucomp. Please cite Sen, R., Tumarkin R., Stocking up: Executive optimism, option exercise, and share retention, Journal of Financial Economics, 2015, Vol. 118, 399-430. A footnote mentioning that the data was downloaded from this site ( is greatly appreciated.


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