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I was awarded some RSUs from Big Tech Company that went public a while back.

In my share management software (provided by the company), it shows that I was granted X RSUs, but I've since only received 60% of them in shares. The terminology used is X RSUs released but Y received.

Is this an error, or is there something I'm missing about how RSUs work?

  • Please read the plan documents for the scheme details. In general, RSUs are granted with a vesting schedule. Example 1000 RSUs over 4 years. In this case, 25% of total quantity will be released and you will receive net shares. Net shares can be traded in Market. The unvested portion will be release in next year apparently. – Abs Dec 4 at 12:47
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Usually you pay taxes on the shares you receive, so the broker sells a certain percentage of shares and sends the money to the IRS.

I received 10 shares earlier this year but only got 6 of them because the rest were sold for tax withholding.

Your account statement should make it clear what exactly happened to the shares, make sure to review all the information you have.

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Your RSUs technically don't vest (they're all already yours) but they do become unrestricted. RSUs that are received but not released are still restricted, so you can't sell or transfer them. The most common restriction post-ICO would be that the RSUs are subject to forfeiture if your employment (or advisor agreement, or board appointment, or whatever) terminates.

Update: It could also be that some were sold to pay taxes, as xyious suggests in their answer.

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