The main purpose of our paper is to study the institutional nature and characteristics of executive share option plans (ESOPs) in Singapore, a fast‐growing economy and an important investment location in Asia. Our study provides an interesting comparison between the characteristics of ESOPs in Singapore and those in the US. Our paper also investigates the short‐term market reaction to ESOP announcements and the long‐run stock and operating performance of the sample firms following the adoption of the ESOPs. Results indicate weak evidence of a positive abnormal return on the days surrounding the announcement of the ESOPs. However, there is no evidence of long‐term superior stock and operating performance for the ESOP firms relative to benchmarks. The lack of significant incentive effects for the sample firms reflects mainly the unique regulatory environment in Singapore.