The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

The ESOP Association Submits Statement to Senate Committee on Finance in Regard to Retirement Savings

On September 16, 2014, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on the state of retirement savings in the U.S. The ESOP Association submitted a statement for the record highlighting the prosperity of ESOP companies and the value employee ownership can bring to a company.

In the statement, ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling noted, “The Senate Finance Committee has a long history of supporting laws that encourage the creation and operation of ESOPs because in the vast majority of instances, ESOP companies are more productive, more profitable, with sustainable jobs for their employees that are locally-controlled, while providing retirement benefits that are greater than most U.S. conventionally-owned companies.”

The full statement can be found on the Association’s website.

Filed under: Government Affairs,

October 2014 ESOP Company News

Senator Burr Visits with Carolinas Chapter Members

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr (R) met with Carolinas Chapter members at the Chapter’s ESOP U Summer Conference held at the Pinehurst Resort on August 14, 2014. Senator Burr spoke for about an hour about the economy, tax reform, energy independence and a thirty year road map to national fiscal independence. This was followed by a Q & A session with no subject off limits. The Carolina’s Chapter wishes to thank the Senator and his staff for taking time to speak at the event which enjoyed record attendance.

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Carl Warren & Company Named to Inc. 5,000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies

Carl Warren & Company, located in Placentia, California, has been recognized on Inc. Magazine’s annual 5,000 list, based on a significant 68% growth rate over the past three years. Carl Warren & Company ranks No. 52 for the top insurance firms and No. 4196 overall.

As stated by Carl Warren’s CEO, Caryn Siebert, “Inc. Magazine’s announcement comes this year as we are celebrating our 70th anniversary. This prestigious honor and the success of our company is a direct result of the hard work of our employee-owners, as well as the loyalty and support of our clients and partners. We are focused on the future and are attentive to marketplace needs as we expand and enhance our services.”

Filed under: TEA Members,

Reminder – NEW EDITION: ESOP Administration Handbook

AdminHdbk COVER Artwork 2014The ESOP Association’s Advisory Committee on Administration has released an updated edition of the ESOP Administration Handbook. Order your 2014 Edition today; includes book and flash drive.

If you’re joining us at the upcoming Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show, stop by the Membership Booth, #105, and get your copy.

Designed as an overview and checklist of the entire administration process, this handbook is invaluable to:

  • In-House Administrators
  • Administrative Committee Members
  • Officers & Management Personnel Responsible for Administration of their Company’s ESOP
  • Service Providers in the ESOP Administration Area

Separate chapters are devoted to:

  • Disclosure Requirements
  • Participation & Coverage
  • Contributions & Dividends
  • ERISA Reporting
  • Diversification Requirements
  • Distributions
  • 401(k) Arrangements & ESOPs
  • ESOPs Sponsored by S Corporations

The ESOP Association would like to express its sincere appreciation to the members of the Advisory Committee on Administration for their hard work, contributions and expertise in creating this publication for the ESOP community.

Members $150 + s&h Non-Members $400 + s&h

Order online or call toll free 1 (866) 366-3832 or email pubs AT esopassociation.org

Filed under: Publication,

The 2014 Las Vegas Conference and Trade Show — The Details!

esop-slide-template - 2014 Vegas Conference

The largest ESOP conference and trade show in the world will take place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 13 & 14, 2014. If you’re joining us, don’t forget to visit the Association’s Membership Booth, #105, for information about upcoming events, new member information, and a chance to win great prizes!

This year we’re giving away an iPad Mini.

Stop by booth #105 to enter!

For more information, including the preliminary agenda and Trade Show booth information, please visit the Association’s Conference page.

Filed under: Conference Information,

ABCs of ESOPs — Are You an ESOP Guru? Be One!

The ABCs of ESOPs is available exclusively to members of The ESOP Association as an interactive learning tool for ESOP participants. It includes lessons, quizzes, a glossary of ESOP terms, frequently asked questions, and games.

If you’re looking for an activity for Employee Ownership Month, the ABCs of ESOPs is a great place to start!

To access the ABCs of ESOPs, visit the Association’s website and click the Member Sign In button at the top of the page. Once logged in, click Meet & Learn, then Online Learning.

ABCs of ESOPs Flyer Updated 2014

Log in information for members:

Corporate, affiliate, and educational members – enter membership ID, email address, and the password will be your membership ID.

Professional members – enter membership ID, email address and the password is your last name.

If you have questions about the ABCs of ESOPs, please send an email to membership@esopassociation.org.

Filed under: Member Services,

October 2014 ESOP Report

The October 2014 ESOP Report is now available for members. To access this month’s issue, you’ll need to sign into The ESOP Association’s website. The Member Sign In button is located at the top of the page. To get to the ESOP Report, click Meet & Learn. A link to the ESOP Report is located on the left side menu.

Oct2014ESOPReportCOVERsmall

Filed under: Publication, , ,

Upcoming Congressional Elections: Important

The following article originally ran as the Washington Report column in the September 2014 issue of the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association.

There is no doubt, no question, that The ESOP Association, from day one of its existence, is all about ESOPs. And with regard to the Association’s focus on its advocacy mission, or its ‘lobbying’ mission if you like, it is all about ESOP laws and regulations.

No matter what you, or anyone may think of the women and men who are elected by voters to serve in the Congress, the bottom line is this — what these people do, or don’t do about ESOP laws and regulations can aid, can improve, or can be the demise of your ESOP, your company’s ESOP, or your clients’ ESOPs.

So while the ESOP community will be the only ones in America who will pay very, very close attention to what is done to impact your ESOP, or not, by the Congress in passing new laws, repealing old laws, and overseeing the implementation of the laws by the regulatory agencies, it is important to be aware of the ‘big’ picture as defined by who will be re-elected in the upcoming 2014 Congressional elections.

As said time and time again by the Association and its leadership, the Association does not presume to tell ESOP advocates and participants in ESOPs how to vote. How a person votes is the prerogative of the individual.

At the same time, the Association has a fiduciary obligation to inform its members who in Congress is ‘for’ ESOPs, and who is openly showing through their actions that s/he is for ESOPs. The Association does hope that each ESOP advocate and participant will weigh how he or she decides to vote based on whether the person seeking re-election has become an advocate for ESOPs by her or his public actions while serving in Congress.

[Good news, as of this day, there is no evidence that any member of Congress is ‘against’ ESOPs and positive ESOP law. This was not always the case as recently as 2010, and in the late 70s until the late 80s, there were probably 10 or so members of Congress in that era that felt current ESOP law was a waste of taxpayer money, or the laws governing ESOPs did not result in ‘real’ employee ownership, and thus needed to be drastically altered. If a member of the current Congress feels this way, s/he has not openly said so, or proposed legislation to do so.]

There are many members of Congress seeking re-election, and in all fairness, are not to be condemned just because they are not on the ESOP Advocates list posted at http://www.esopassociation.org/advocate/advocacy-kit/esop-advocates; it is just that we do not have any public evidence that they have any position with regard to ESOPs because they have not done anything publicly to indicate favoring current ESOP law, or expanding current ESOP law, or opposing an agency’s position that would be detrimental to ESOP creation and operation. Please note, to be an ESOP advocate, the member of Congress must have taken a pro-ESOP position that is public — such as being a co-sponsor of a pro-ESOP legislative proposal, offering a pro-ESOP amendment in a Committee, and making a statement that is part of the permanent Congressional Record that is pro-ESOP. It takes more than being nice to ESOP advocates when they visit a Congressional office.

If any member of The ESOP Association wants details about an ESOP Congressional Champion who is seeking re-election, do not hesitate to contact Association President Michael Keeling, michael AT esopassociation DOT org

For example, he would share what Senator seeking re-election he thinks would single handedly try to stop negative ESOP tax law proposals by filibustering on the Senate floor. He would share what member of the House is serving on the key committees that handle ESOP legislation and ESOP oversight duties. He would help you weigh what you might do, and what you might share with your fellow ESOP participants, in terms of the question, “Does this member of Congress deserve my/our vote because s/he can protect and enhance our ESOP?”

Sure the elections coming in November are ‘big picture’ stuff that the left-wing and right-wing TV cable shows like to bloviate about ad nauseam; but understanding the part of the big picture important to the ESOP community is as important to each ESOP advocate and her/his family.

Filed under: Government Affairs, , ,

ESOPs on YouTube

On The ESOP Association’s website, there are links to some great videos by ESOP Association members. These videos provide a laugh, some thoughtful introspection on being part of an ESOP company, and the benefits of being employee owned.  There are also a few policy based videos as well that bring a different perspective to the conversation.  In the spirit of sharing the ESOP message during Employee Ownership Month, we thought we’d share the link to let you see for yourself what a creative bunch ESOP people are.  Keep in mind, this is just a sample, there are MANY more out there.

You can find the list here.

Social Networking ESOPs and YouTube TEA page 2

NOTE: If you’re a member of The ESOP Association and would like us to highlight your video on The ESOP Association’s website and on the Employee Ownership Blog, please send an email to media AT esopassociation.org with a link to the video and we’ll include a link.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Employee Ownership Month (EOM),

More on Employee Ownership Month Proclamations

Yesterday, we posted some of the 2014 Employee Ownership Month (EOM) proclamations that have been shared with the Association. Today, we thought we’d offer a few tips on securing a proclamation.

Ask Your Elected Officials to Issue a Proclamation

A proclamation is an easy way to alert your elected officials to ESOPs in their community, district, or state. A proclamation is issued by a legislative body designating an official observance of EOM. You can ask your mayor, state representative, or governor to issue a proclamation.

Begin by sending a letter explaining what EOM is and requesting that your representative declare an observance of the month. Attach a sample proclamation for your representative to use. Below is an example:

WHEREAS, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) have been established in approximately 10,000 companies in the United States, employing 10.3 million working men and women; and

WHEREAS, employee ownership is becoming a practice that is instrumental in helping Americans share in our nation’s growth and prosperity by enabling our citizens to accumulate significant amounts of capital stock in the business at which they are employed; and

WHEREAS, employee ownership has become a powerful incentive for Americans to make the best of their talents and energies in their places of work, thus strengthening the competitive potential of our state’s businesses; and

WHEREAS, employee ownership aids in creating and retaining jobs in our state; and

WHEREAS, the successful record of employee-owned firms in benefiting both companies and employees merits recognition.

THEREFORE, I proclaim October as Employee Ownership Month.

 

Tips for Securing Proclamations

Most states have specific guidelines regarding proclamations and the best place to start is to call your Governor’s office and ask to speak with the person who handles proclamations. Ask about the preferred method for receiving requests, either by mail, fax, or email. Some states may have an online form that can be filled out and submitted through the state website. Always follow-up with a call to make sure the person responsible for processing requests received your information. You may want to inquire at that time about how long it will take for the request to be approved.

Not only is a proclamation a great way to show your state’s support for employee ownership and ESOPs in America, but is also a wonderful way to draw attention to your company and employee ownership in your state through the media. A few examples are below.

If you would like a text version of the proclamation language, please send a note to Media AT esopassociation.org.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message,

Employee Ownership Month Proclamation

A proclamation is an easy way to alert your elected officials to ESOPs in their community, district, or state. A proclamation is issued by a legislative body designating an official observance of Employee Ownership Month. You can ask your mayor, state representative, or governor to issue a proclamation.

Following are 2014 Employee Ownership Month Proclamations that members have shared with the Association. Additional proclamations will be added to The ESOP Association website in the following weeks.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Month (EOM),

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