The true value of stock in a company like Wise
At Wise, all our employees have a share in our mission and the responsibility to make our product a success. Stock is one of the ways we share the value of our growth and is a key part of our compensation package.
We’ve grown into a multi-billion dollar company with over 10 million customers in just ten years. So what does this mean for our stock offer? If you’re thinking of joining Wise, this blog answers your most frequently asked questions.
This guide covers:
- What Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) are
- The value of Wise stock
- Stock FAQs
- Glossary of terminology
Take a look at this video to get an overview on how stock works at Wise. For more information, check out the guide below.
First off, what are RSUs?
RSUs are a right to attain and sell a specific number of shares in a company’s stock over a fixed time period (vesting period1).
Ownership of a company is broken down into shares. When you receive shares, you become part-owner of that company’s success.
A share in a company is like one slice of a cake. All slices are equal. Employees don’t need to purchase the slice of cake. Instead, the RSUs are automatically converted to shares and given to employees over time once they have vested.
At Wise, the amount of stock you get is set by your role and level. As you progress in your career and increase your impact, you can get more RSUs.
What’s the value of Wise stock?
Wise became a publicly listed company² on 7 July 2021. Our stock’s value is driven by how much our investors are willing to pay for each share on the stock market.
In May 2019, Wise raised an additional $292 million through a secondary sale at a valuation of $3.5 billion (making us the most valuable FinTech startup in Europe at that point!). In July 2020, we had another secondary sale raising a further $319 million, with the valuation increasing to $5bn. That’s 43% growth in just a bit over a year.
Wise listed on the London Stock Exchange on 7 July 2021 at a valuation of $11 billion, so our value has doubled in the last year. You can check the current value of Wise shares on the London Stock Exchange.
How does it all work in practice?
Stock is a long-term incentive — we want our employees to stick with us on our mission. So we have a 4-year vesting schedule with a one year cliff3. This means you have to work at Wise for at least one year to have any vested RSUs that you can hold as shares or sell for cash.
The life cycle of Restricted Stock Units
Let’s imagine a potential scenario
Sam was hired in 2019 and was granted £15,000* value of RSUs. The indicative value of a share at the time of grant was £30, so Sam was granted 500 RSUs (15,000/30).
In 2020, Sam reached her one year cliff and vested 25% of their RSUs and decided to sell these RSUs when they were delivered. They’d vested 125 RSUs at the time and sold all of these.
In 2020 each share was worth £70 – they’d more than doubled in value! This meant that when Sam sold their 125 RSUs, they received c. £8,750 (before tax and other costs).
*The total amount is without tax — taxes will always depend on the country the employee is located in.
Note: All the numbers in the above example are hypothetical.
Other Frequently Asked Questions we get about stock
How much stock do you get?
This depends on your role and responsibilities. If you’re applying to Wise and are successful (congratulations!), you’ll learn about the amount and expected value of your package when you get your job offer.
How often does Wise grant stock?
Our stock package is for 4 years. We don’t do annual stock grants.
Do you get more stock if you’re promoted?
The amount of stock given is set by role and level. So if you progress in your career and increase your impact at Wise, then sometimes more stock is granted, depending on your role and responsibilities.
When can you sell your stock?
Your RSUs will automatically be delivered to you as shares as soon as they vest. At that point, you’ll be able to sell them.
What about taxes and stock?
RSUs are usually taxed in a similar way to other taxable income. The taxing point can be at grant, vesting, sale or when changing your tax residency. In most countries, you don’t have to pay any tax until your RSUs are vested and also when you sell your shares. Exceptions can happen when you relocate or do remote work.
The tax an employee has to pay depends on their tax residency, so it’s worth doing your homework. It can get a little complicated sometimes, and that’s when it’s time to see a tax advisor.
1 Vesting period: The time an employee has to work for the company to earn the Restricted Stock Units. At Wise, we have a four year vesting period, which means our employees earn their RSU package incrementally over four years.
2 Publicly listed company: A public company sells all or a portion of itself to the public via an Initial Public Offering (IPO), which means that shareholders have a claim to part of the company’s assets and profits. Wise became a public company on 7 July 2021.
3 One year cliff: To earn any RSUs from working at Wise, our employees need to work here for at least one year. After a year, they’ll have vested the first 25% of their option/RSU package. After this cliff, the rest of their package will be vested incrementally until their four year Wise anniversary.