The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

Joining us in Vegas? Stop by the Membership Services Booth and say hello!

esop-slide-template - 2014 Vegas Conference

If you’re joining us at the 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show, November 13 – 14 at Caesars Palace, stop by booth #105 and say hello to the ESOP staff.

The Trade Show preview will be open from 5:00pm – 8:00pm the evening on November 12th and will officially open 6:30 AM on Thursday, November 13th.

  • We’ll have the latest ESOP publications, products, advocacy work, and press releases from The ESOP Association available.
  • Order your copy of the NEW edition of the ESOP Administration Handbook.
  • Learn more about gaining access to the ABCs of ESOPs interactive learning module for ESOP participants and get a tutorial on resources available to members through the Association’s website.
  • Don’t forget to drop off your business card for a chance to win an iPad mini and pick-up some great ESOP give-a-ways!
  • Make sure you’re receiving you monthly subscription to the ESOP Report.
  • Learn more about ordering ESOP technical publications published by the Association such as the ESOP Fiduciary Handbook, Valuing ESOP Shares, ESOP Accounting Standards, and much more.
  • Find out more about your local ESOP Chapter.

Filed under: Conference Information,

How to Keep Up With Advocacy Updates

Want the latest government affairs news? We have it.

Website: all information is posted to The ESOP Association’s website. Check the ESOP Bulletin under Advocacy and the News section on the homepage.

ESOP Association Blog: government affairs information will be posted to The ESOP Association’s Blog as it happens. There is a subscription feature on the homepage of the blog. You’ll be notified by email when new information is posted. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed.

Facebook and LinkedIn: information and links to information are posted to the Association’s Facebook page and LinkedIn group for members to stay involved.

YouTube Channel: when important information is announced, additional commentary is posted to the Association’s YouTube Channel.

Email: emails to the membership will continue on important issues.

As always, as information breaks, you’ll be notified and the Association will continue to share information in several forms and places to reach members.


Filed under: Government Affairs, Member Services,

Use Time Wisely: Think Elections

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

If you’re joining The ESOP Association at the 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show at Caesars Palace this November 13th and 14th, there will be an election wrap-up by ESOP Association President, J. Michal Keeling, at the Friday Lunch: November 14, 12:15 pm – 1:45 pm, Palace Ballroom.

Use Time Wisely: Think Elections

It is a waste of time to talk about what Congress may do in its lame duck session after the November Mid-term elections. Who knows, as crisis after crisis is exploding, and what next week will require is unknown, much less what will be the focus of Congress in November and December.

But, with members of Congress, the vast majority running for re-election, some in tough races, some not, moving around their districts and states, it is a perfect time to have your Congressperson, or her/his staff, or Senator, or his/her staff, come visit, or to interact at a local event, or to send a letter, or if you have contacts in her or his office, an email, asking that s/he co-sponsors H.R. 4837, the House pro-ESOP tax bill, or S. 742, the Senate pro-ESOP tax bill.

The track record is clear: Since 1990, on advice of the then leading champion for ESOPs on the House Ways and Means Committee, as the ESOP community came out of the 80s with a tax bill nearly every year, often reducing ESOP tax benefits, said to ESOP leaders: “You people need an offense; remember the best defense is an offense. I will introduce each Congress a pro-ESOP tax bill, bi-partisan, so we get members to say that they are “for” ESOPs, sending a message to those in the government and on Congressional professional staffs that are ESOP cynics, that if you want to hurt ESOPs, you will have a tough fight on your hands.”

So, each Congress, since 1990, the ESOP community has been able to go to members of Congress to get them to declare that s/he is for employee ownership through the ESOP model, and it is clear that when literally 100 and sometimes more, many on the tax committees of Congress, make it clear before the tax committees begin work on reducing tax benefits in order to lower tax rates, those with a knife out for ESOPs say, “Why take on a task and lose?”

A more colorful comment by a member of Congress some years ago who still serves on the House Ways and Means Committee when S ESOP advocates protested the proposal in 2001 to apply a corporate income tax on the ESOP’s share of its S sponsor’s taxable income, he said, “I learned a long time ago not to step on that ESOP snake!”

His remark was basically saying that the pain from other members not liking any negative action against ESOPs was not worth the amount of new tax revenue gained by squeezing ESOP companies and employees to pay more money.

“Stay with it” is the motto for now, and for the next two months, if your member of Congress is not a co-sponsor of H.R. 4837, or S. 742, ask; do not be bashful.

And the Election: For years the holy grail goal for ESOP advocates has been that some day, just some day, there would be ESOP voters, who would vote, or at least have a major reason for their vote, on how the candidates stood on ESOPs. The ESOP community is not there yet, but….

There is growing evidence from Association members that they do care how candidates stand on pro-ESOP policy — not big evidence but evidence. Take a look at the list of pro-ESOP men and women on the Association’s website: First, see if your Congressperson or Senator is on the list. Then take note if s/he is in a tough re-election fight. Then think about how you will vote, in accord with your values, and your personal and company’s benefits from the ESOP, and put that into your calculation about how you will vote.

Your vote is your business; the Association respects how you vote, but thinking ESOP when you vote is not wrong; it is right.

Filed under: Government Affairs, , ,

New Jersey State Legislation to Encourage ESOPs

The state of New Jersey has joined several other states in encouraging the creation of ESOPs. Recently, the New Jersey State Senate advanced bill S. 945, which provides for gross income tax exclusion for capital gains from the sale of certain employer securities, if at least 30% of the company is sold to the employees. The bill was introduced in January 2014 by New Jersey State Senator Donald Norcross (D-5th District).

This new bill is very similar to one introduced in December 2012 by New Jersey Deputy Speaker of the State Assemblyman, Upendra J. Chivukula (D-17th District) to help motivate small businesses, with 500 or fewer employees, to create ESOPs.

“It’s encouraging to see states introducing bills to encourage ESOP creation,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “Clearly more state officers are seeing the benefits that employee-owned companies bring to the local economy.”

Similar legislation was also introduced in Missouri earlier this year. In 2012, Iowa’s Governor, Terry Branstad, signed into law an ESOP Initiative, and in addition to the Iowa law encouraging ESOP creation, Iowa’s Economic Development Authority has also put together a new ESOP initiative program to assist companies interested in creating an ESOP.

Filed under: Government Affairs,

The ESOP Association Signs on to Coalition Letters in Support of Retirement Policy

Recently, The ESOP Association joined colleagues in the retirement community in signing on to two letters in support of issues important to the retirement savings community.

The first, as part of the Retirement Savings Network, of which the Association is a member, was a letter celebrating the 40th birthday of ERISA that included 40 facts about the legislation and the benefits brought to millions in this country that have retirement savings. The letter was sent to all Capital Hill offices.

The second was a statement to the members of the Senate Finance Committee regarding the hearing on retirement savings held on September 16, 2014. The statement was made on behalf of the Coalition to Protect Retirement of which the Association is a member. The ESOP Association also submitted comments on behalf of Association members.

Filed under: Government Affairs, , ,

Download the 2014 Las Vegas Conference and Trade Show App!

The ESOP Association’s 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show app is available for download. The app is a convenient and comprehensive way to navigate the event and a way to utilize features before, during, and after the show.

ESOP Quad Graphic

This year’s app features:

  • The Dashboard to keep you organized
  • Exhibitor, session & speaker listings
  • Alerts which will allow attendees to receive important real-time communications
  • Attendees can locate exhibitors they want to visit

To download this app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, search the Apple Store for “ESOP 2014” and download the mobile app as you would any other.

To download this app for all other phones and devices, visit the Google Play Store and search “ESOP 2014.”

For blackberry users, go to to download the app.

The following QR code can also be used to download the app.

ESOP Vegas QR code

App information will be updated regularly during the Conference & Trade Show.

Filed under: Conference Information, Member Services,

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, a few things to note:

  • The 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show app is out. Search Vegas 2014 to download this year’s Las Vegas Conference app.
  • 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!

More information, including the preliminary agenda and Trade Show booth information.


Filed under: Conference Information,

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.


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

Filed under: Publication,

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