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Compass real estate agents who opted into Compass’ much-heralded agent equity program last year are staring at sobering losses — at least on paper.

The program incentivizes agents to defer commissions in exchange for stock, plus a sweetener: a 10 percent match from Compass.

To compensate agents who deferred sales commissions in 2021, Compass logged a $100 million expense in connection with its agent equity program, according to public filings, suggesting that Compass real estate agents gave up some $90 million in compensation last year. That’s serious money.

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The value of equity that Compass has issued in connection with the program has fallen by about $74 million as of Sept. 27, an analysis of public filings by The Real Deal suggests.

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Institutional investors in the brokerage have lost hundreds of millions of dollars, public filings show. But the material impact of Compass’ plummeting stock price on its foot soldiers — the agents that bought into the dream — was less understood.

Unlike stock-based compensation given as a bonus on top of salary or other earnings, Compass agents who participated in the agent equity program gave up the core component of their incomes (TRD’s analysis excludes the company’s 10 percent stock match).

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“Agents have deferred hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation payments through the agent equity program, essentially giving Compass a zero-interest loan, and now those investments are worth pennies on the dollar,” said Mike DelPrete, a real estate analyst at the University of Colorado, who has an investment in rival brokerage Side.

“Real people have been affected,” he added.

A Compass spokesperson dismissed any conclusion about the program as “hypothetical.”

It “assumes all agents have sold at our current…




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