The following press release was sent out by The ESOP Association on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. We wanted to share the information with readers.
For Immediate Release: February 13, 2013
For More Information: Amy Gwiazdowski, amy AT esopassociation.org
Senator Kelly Ayotte Renews Work to Protect Employee Ownership: Introduces Pro-ESOP Bill, S. 273
February 13, 2013 (Washington, DC) – Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced S. 273, a bill to modify the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to exclude appraisers of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
This bill is a response to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed anti-ESOP regulation mandating all private ESOP company appraisers be ERISA fiduciaries.
While the original proposal was withdrawn, if any regulation was finalized to make appraisers ERISA fiduciaries there would be extreme confusion over whether the appraiser or the trustee[s], and other current fiduciaries, make the decisions about acquisition of shares on behalf of average pay employees. More troubling, it would leave private ESOP companies open to lawsuits by aggressive class action trial lawyers. Leaders at the DOL say a new proposal will be issued in July 2013. It is expected DOL will not alter the proposed regulation’s mandate that all appraisers of ESOP stock be ERISA fiduciaries.
“We’re very pleased to see Senator Ayotte not back down from protecting the best jobs policy, and the best deficit reduction policy, in Federal law,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “The DOL needs to wake up to the fact that private company ESOPs have tremendous positive records of sustaining jobs as evidenced during the Great Recession. According to the General Social Survey of 2010, employer stock owned companies laid off employees at a rate of less than 3% whereas conventionally-owned companies laid off employees at a rate of more than 12% during the Great Recession. Bottom-line, ESOP companies’ employees, in the aggregate, were saving Uncle Sam $7 for every dollar Uncle Sam spent promoting employee ownership.”
The ESOP Association is the national trade association for companies with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and the leading voice in America for employee ownership. The core cause of The ESOP Association is the belief that employee ownership will improve American competitiveness, increase productivity through greater employee participation, and strengthen our free enterprise economy. More information: website – www.esopassociation.org and blog – www.esopassociationblog.org.