"Share option plans worthless", screamed the Financial Review last Friday. According to a study by mid-tier law firm Deacons, almost three-quarters of employee share options plans issued since 2003 are worthless. Deacons also noted that "S&P/ASX 50 companies learnt a lesson from the dot-com crash and moved to performance rights schemes rather than employee option schemes to ensure that their incentive schemes continued to motivate their employees during downturns in the market."

The Deacons study's fawning admiration of performance rights is certainly not a good thing for shareholders.