How do you sell Facebook stocks (RSUs) that you have?

Question: (org. on Quora) How do you sell Facebook stocks (RSUs) that you have?

Answer (by Dan Walter)

This answer will be generally accurate for any RSUs that can be settled in company stock. Your company may have additional rules or restrictions.

1. The RSUs must vest. When they vest they essentially turn into stock.

2. Pay the taxes due at the time of vest. For most companies this is done automatically using some of the shares that trail from vesting. Withhold to Cover, or Net Settlement is a process where the company simply holds back vested units with a value roughly equivalent to the taxes owed. (This was the historical process used by Facebook) Sell to cover is a process where the company will take some of the vested RSUs that have turned into stock and have a designated broker immediately sell those shares on the open market. (This is the current process used by Facebook for most RSUs) In both cases the remaining shares are then delivered to you. Typically they are sent directly to a designated brokerage account.

A small percentage of companies also allow you to write a check for the taxes. They then deliver all of the vested shares. This process is a pain and often ends up in the individual failing to make a timely payment so it's pretty uncommon.

3. The shares that are delivered to you can then be sold by you. A) but you can't be in a trading blackout period     B) you can't have any inside information that would otherwise prohibit you from trading in the companies stock.   C) all other securities laws etc will apply to you.

Lastly, if you RSUs have not vested, or will never vest (as in the case where you no longer work for the company), then you are out of luck.

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