The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

June 2015 Roundup

It’s the last day of June so a monthly wrap-up it is!

Upcoming 2015 July events

Support for ESOPs

The June 2015 Washington Report from the ESOP Report

Welcome to new corporate members

We shared a pic of the 2015 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest winner

Show your ownership spirit

The June 2015 ESOP Report was published

Registration is now open for the 2015 Employee Owner Retreat

Jobs remained stable in the employee stock ownership sector

ESOP advocates list

Spring Advocacy Kits

Dates announced for the 2015 Employee Owner Retreat

We noted how to access Issue Briefs and the Membership Directory on the website

Carris Reels beats the drum for ESOPs

Filed under: Chapter News, Conference Information, Economic Performance, Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), ESOP Report, Government Affairs, Issue Brief, Member Services, Publication, TEA Members,

Show your ownership spirit!

ESOP flag

Fly it proudly under, or next to, Old Glory. The ESOP flag with ESOP logo and “Employee Owned” on royal blue nylon, 3’ x 5’. The ESOP flag meets all industry standards for outdoor display. Durability subject to weather conditions.

Members $68.00   Non-Members $500.00

Visit our website or call 202-293-2971 to purchase the ESOP flag!

Filed under: Member Services, Publication,

How to Access Issue Briefs and the 2015 Membership Directory

As a member, did you know that you can access all ESOP Association Issue Briefs and the current 2015 Membership Directory online? Start at www.esopassociation.org. For Issue Briefs, click Explore; from there go to the Issue Briefs link in the navigation. Or use this link. All Issue Briefs are downloadable and free to members.

Issue Brief

For the 2015 Directory, click Network and then Membership Directory in the navigation. Or use this handy link.

cover-esop-directory-2015

Please note that to access the Issue Briefs and the Membership Directory, you need to be logged in as a member.

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 or problems with login, please send an email to membership@esopassociation.org.

Filed under: Publication, ,

May 2015 Link Round Up

It’s June 1 it is which means this is your May news re-cap.

Leading in an Ownership Setting: The Program for CEOs

New Spring Advocacy Kit is available

We talked pro-ESOP legislation

We provided a legislative update on H.R. 2096 and S. 1212

May 2015 ESOP Report was published

We shared some talk about ESOPs

We talked ESOP company news

Dates were announced for the 2015 Employee Owner Retreat

S. 1212 was introduced in the Senate

Congrats to the 2015 ESOP Award & AACE Award winners

The 2015 Annual Conference App was announced

We connected at the Annual Conference with members

We announced new Chairs!

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information, Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Message, ESOP Report, Government Affairs, Member Services, Publication, Silver ESOP Awards, TEA Members,

May 2015 ESOP Report is Available

The May 2015 ESOP Report newsletter 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.

May2015ESOPReportCOVERsmall

Filed under: ESOP Report, Publication,

ESOPs in the Air

Please note, the following article originally ran as the Washington Report column in the April 2015 issue of the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association.

If you would like additional information about newly introduced pro-ESOP legislation, read the ESOP bulletin.

This past month a set of inquires came in to The ESOP Association that the office has never really seen before.

Traditionally, when a committee, or committees, of the Congress, usually tax committees, work on revising law, or adding law pertaining to ERISA plans in general, and ESOP law in particular, it is not uncommon to have a Congressional office reach out to the Association’s office with questions. Not as frequent, but not unusual, the reach out is from a Congressional office of a member of the Congressional committees with jurisdiction over Title I of ERISA, which has the fiduciary provisions of law, along with some provisions on diversifying ERISA plan’s assets — these committees are often loosely referred to as the education and labor committees.

And we must cite one other example of why the Association might hear from a Congressional office — the member has openly and publicly co-sponsored a pro-ESOP legislative proposal, and the Association has that member listed publicly on its website as an ESOP “advocate.” Most often, and it is almost without fail, these members of Congress jumped on the pro-ESOP bandwagon due to direct visits with an ESOP company, or companies in her/his district or state.

But, here is the new development that triggered Association staff direct involvement with government relations responsibilities to sit back and wonder, “How come?”

How come over the past two months Congressional offices whose elected leader is not listed as an ESOP advocate, and who is not on the tax or labor committees of Congress, have unilaterally reached out to the Association’s DC office desiring to have a briefing on ESOP law, and to talk about new proposals the Representative or Senator is pondering to encourage ESOP creation?

While it would be dumb to set forth concrete reasons, there is reasonable speculation as to why are these not heard from before members of Congress reach out to the Association for ESOP information.

Interestingly, all of these inquiries came from a Congressional office of a Democrat.

So, what is it that has Democrats who have not been ESOP advocates, and who do not serve on a tax or labor committee, interested in promoting ESOPs?

It is a series of developments: One, the book The Citizen’s Share by respected academics Drs. Joseph Blasi and Douglas Kruse of Rutgers, and Dr. Richard Freeman of Harvard, attracted the attention of a think tank whose reputation among Democrats is very high — the Center for American Progress, or CAP. CAP staff, even before the book’s publication, was reviewing various policies that would increase the wage and wealth of average pay Americans, and broad-based ownership was on its radar screen for review. CAP staff actually had a half day roundtable discussion, with persons knowledgeable about broad-based ownership.

To highlight its work to increase income and wealth of average pay citizens, CAP sponsored a “summit” of top economists and opinion leaders that issued a paper full of recommendations to address income issues. In the paper was a straight forward endorsement of policies to increase “ownership” among more Americans, and ESOPs were specifically cited as an example of a program that did broaden ownership.

In conjunction with the CAP paper, famed economist Peter Orszag, who was President Obama’s first Director of the Office of Management and Budget, a very influential position in our government though not realized by most citizens, wrote a very straight to the point opinion piece for the widely read Bloomberg blog stating that President Obama needed to be forceful in promoting more ownership among Americans, citing ESOPs as did the CAP summit document.

Meanwhile on two recorded occasions — i.e. not a back room unpublished conversation — for the first time since Robert Reich was Secretary of Labor, the current Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, gave a glowing endorsement of ESOPs as good policy.

And, the Employee Ownership Foundation (EOF): You read it right, the Association’s affiliated 501(c)(3) was not directly involved, but…. Research supported by the Foundation and the publicity garnered by data gathered made its way into the discourse, woven into The Citizen’s Share in certain passages and sections — cited not as EOF materials, but citing work that neutral third parties had done on broad-based employee ownership that EOF helped fund, but certainly not controlled; data in a similar vein noted by the CAP staff people working on how to increase more ownership among average pay persons.

So, Democrats that prior to a few months ago did not take note of employee ownership, are beginning to do so.

Let it be said without hesitation; throughout the 90s and first 14 years of the 21st Century, the vocal men and women in Congress for promoting ESOPs were Republicans — much of its stemming from these men and women coming of maturity when their favorite national figure Ronald Reagan was President, and who was the best friend ESOPs ever had in the White House.

Always support for ESOPs in the tax and labor committees have been both Democrats and Republicans; and always the list of advocates is nearly balanced between the two, as when a member of Congress learns about ESOPs up close and personal on a company visit, s/he becomes a supporter.

But recently, it is pleasing to see the interest in ESOPs grow as opinion leaders that have the ear of Democrats in Congress have become more open about the value of employee stock ownership via the ESOP model.

Let us not let the “new” interest falter.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, ESOP Report, Publication, ,

April 2015 ESOP Report is Available

The April 2015 ESOP Report newsletter 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.

April2015ESOPReportCOVERsmall

 

Filed under: Publication, ,

Been There; Done That. Does It Have to Be?

The following article originally ran as the President’s Page column in the February 2015 issue of the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association.

Human nature is often an enemy of enthusiasm. By this statement I mean it is normal for a mature ESOP company to react with a ‘been there, done that,’ attitude when pondering how to keep the enthusiasm for employee ownership vibrant among the company employees.

In recent years, when I visit ESOP companies, I often find myself talking to company executives, ESOP committee members, or HR professionals of a company that has had an ESOP for 10, 15, 20, 25, or even more years.

Often, here is the story I hear:

“Well, when we finally put the ESOP in place, needless to say, we were somewhat focused on the details of being sure we met the law and regulations. We were somewhat surprised how creating the ESOP tapped our resources, both money and time wise.

We had our ESOP advisors, and felt that they could keep us posted on all we needed to know.

We told the employees we had an ESOP, but most just scratched their heads, wondering what kind of scheme had been cooked up, as no one was seeing any extra money in her or his pocket.

In sum, we were what one might say a “sleepy” ESOP, assuming that employees would be excited about being owners, and would want to do more and be better.

After some employees left vested, and others saw that the person did get real value, interest seemed to perk up, and we could sense the employees wanted to be more attuned to what this ESOP and their role in being a beneficial owner meant.

So in about year five or so, we began to have employees exposed to other men and women like them at Association Chapter meetings, the national Annual Conference, and the Foundation’s Employee Owner Retreat, for example.

Top level executives, and average pay employees saw the AACE entries, heard about winners of AACE, ESOP Company of the Year, Employee Owner of the Year, attended the Annual Awards Banquet. Some employees became the ‘champions’ for making sure others in the company knew we were special, and everyone would benefit the better if we maximized the human side of ESOPs as a company.

So we entered AACE. We put in applications for awards with our Chapter and thus nationally. We created an ESOP communications committee; we made sure average pay employees were at meetings, networking with others in ESOP companies, and going to break out sessions about ownership culture and the human side of ESOPs.

But after five years or more of going, going, entering, entering, it sort of became old hat all of this intangible ‘love’ of being ESOP.

We need a revival so to speak. We are a good company, don’t get me wrong; but we just wonder if all of this ‘going, participating, entering’ stuff is worth it as we have been down that road, and we do not regret it; but the enthusiasm is gone.”

Well, after hearing this story, I do not jump up and down preaching that persistence is the key to an ESOP company maximizing their ownership structure; persistence is in keeping the enthusiasm alive. But the truth is each company, for many different reasons — growth, or new employees, or new business initiatives — needs to be engaged with the ESOP community year in and year out.

Accepting that the ‘old’ stuff has no more intrinsic value can diminish the subjective impact that being employee-owned has on a better performing company, with a more dedicated, and a more experienced work force, that builds wealth for all.

So, exposing ESOP people to the various tactics used to build a good company, learning about new tactics not used before, is a major way to end ennui that can arise in a mature ESOP company.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Member Services, Publication, , , ,

March 2015 ESOP Report

The March 2015 ESOP Report newsletter 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.

March2015ESOPReportCOVERsmall

Filed under: Member Services, Publication, ,

Updated Publication: Issue Brief #23

issuebriefpic#23White Paper on Recommended Procedure for ESOP Companies in Response to Auditors Request for ESOP Valuation Report has recently been updated by The ESOP Association’s Advisory Committee on Valuation.

Issue Briefs are one to three page papers discussing a variety of legal, financial and operational issues relating to ESOPs. These briefs are updated regularly. All files are available in .pdf format.

Members FREE / Non-Members can purchase Issues Briefs for $6.00 on the website

Members can visit the website to download free Issue Briefs or call 202/293-2971, email pubs@esopassociation.org.

Filed under: Issue Brief, Publication,

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