Blue Ridge ESOP Associates Industry News

Tom Roback, Jr.

Mr. Roback has worked in the accounting, investment and ESOP industry for over 23 years. He is an expert in the design, implementation and execution of ESOP, stock option, stock purchase and restricted stock plans. Mr. Roback received his MBA from the University of Baltimore and a BS in Accounting from the College of William and Mary. TTHe is a Qualified 401(k) Administrator, Certified Equity Professional and the Chair on the Board of Directors for the National Center for Employee Ownership. Tom is also the Vice President-Membership for the ESOP Association’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter. He is a member of The ESOP Association, American Society for Pension Professionals & Actuaries, Employee-Owned S Corporations of America, and the National Center for Employee Ownership.
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Recent Posts

Academics from around the world convene at the Mid-Year Fellows Workshop in Honor of Louis O. Kelso

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Mar 27, 2019 3:15:28 PM

Blue Ridge ESOP Associates was proud to be represented again at the Mid-Year Fellows Workshop in Honor of Louis O. Kelso in January. This workshop was organized by Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing of the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations. The program is named after Louis Kelso who was a political economist, corporate and financial lawyer, author, and merchant banker. He is widely credited as the inventor and pioneer of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), enabling workers without savings to own stock in their employer company. The purpose of the annual workshop is to study broad-based forms of capital ownership and capital income such as employee stock ownership, equity compensation, profit sharing, gain sharing, and worker cooperatives in the corporation.  The workshop also explores approaches to broadened citizen capital ownership, “second income”, and dividend funds for citizens in the society in the United States.  The workshop provides an opportunity for scholars to present research in progress, receive mutual mentoring and feedback, work on joint research projects and publications, and meet foundation officials and publishers interested in this scholarship.  The workshop convenes members of the research Fellowship Program of the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing from around the globe.

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Topics: ESOP & 401(k) Plans, Employee-Ownership, Ownership Culture

State Senate Bill Introduced in Maryland

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Feb 9, 2018 11:05:07 AM

Thanks to Christopher Croft of the Maryland Center for Employee Ownership for his efforts in Annapolis to introduce this bill to eliminate capital gains taxes on the sale of a business to an ESOP, a qualifying employee benefit trust, or direct stock purchase plan.
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Topics: tax reform

2018 Limits announced by the IRS and SSA

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Dec 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

In October, the 2018 FICA taxable wage base (the maximum amount of an employee's wages with respect to which the Old-Age, Survivor and Disability Income portion of FICA taxes is payable) had been announced as $128,700, up from this year's $127,200. On November 27, the Social Security Administration announced that it was lowering the previously calculated amount, and that the 2018 taxable wage base would instead be only $128,400.
The reason given for this unusual change was that the wage base, which reflects national average wages, had to be recalculated when a good deal of salary data that had not been included in the original calculations was received after applicable deadlines. Although small, the resulting revision was not inconsequential. Please read more about the SSA announcement here and the IRS announcement here.
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IRS Advisory Committee - Survey Request

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Jan 15, 2016 10:04:35 AM

IRS Advisory Committee Asks Practitioners and Service-Providers to Participate by February 1 in Confidential Survey About Elimination of Most Determination Letters (Employee Plans Subcommittee, IRS Advisory Committee on Tax-Exempt and Government Entities (ACT))

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The Impact of 401(k) Plan Design on Company Culture

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Oct 22, 2015 9:07:00 AM

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Topics: Plan Design

ESCA Special News from Washington D.C.

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

May 5, 2015 10:04:03 AM

Bipartisan Legislation Would Help More Working Americans
Save for Retirement through Employee Ownership
 Recent Study Confirms Private ESOPs Boost Worker Retirement Security
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Top 10 Reasons you need ESOPConnection

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Feb 2, 2015 1:55:39 PM

Super Bowl Sunday is an American tradition we all enjoy. ESOPConnection™ is becoming another American tradition ESOP companies enjoy. Blue Ridge ESOP Associates was first to market with a custom on-line tool for ESOP companies. ESOPConnection™ continues to get more useful.

Here are 10 reasons you should invest in ESOPConnection™:

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Topics: ESOPConnection

ESOPConnection is Now Mobile-Ready!

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Jan 22, 2015 4:21:54 PM

Industry-wide trends show that plan participants have significantly increased their use of mobile devices. In response to these evolving technological preferences, Blue Ridge ESOP Associates is pleased to announce that ESOPConnection, the leading online access portal for ESOP participants, is now mobile-ready on over 30 different devices.

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Build Your Ownership Culture with Your Annual ESOP Statement

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Jan 22, 2015 3:18:17 PM

Your company makes a significant contribution to employees’ ESOP accounts each year. Why not seize the opportunity the statement distribution process provides to build your ownership culture?  
Being able to read and understand your ESOP statement is a key to recognizing the benefits of employee ownership. If a participant can’t read his ESOP statement, he doesn’t understand how the plan benefits him nor recognize the ESOP’s value to himself, his family and the company. Without that knowledge, employees are unlikely to take action to improve customer service, product quality and company productivity and profitability.   In other words, your firm is losing the benefits of employee ownership.
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The Certificate Program for Non-Professional ESOP Fiduciaries

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Dec 9, 2014 2:35:39 PM

The Certificate Program for
Non-Professional ESOP Fiduciaries
February 22-25, 2015 San Diego, CA

Hosted by The Beyster Institute at UC San Diego

Program Overview
You are invited to participate in our third annual Certificate Program for Non-Professional ESOP Fiduciaries – to be held at the Rady School of Management, UCSD, Feb., 22-25, 2015.

One of the fundamental resources of the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) movement is the large group of dedicated, well-intentioned people who agree to serve as trustees or other fiduciaries on behalf of their company’s ESOP. If you are one of those dedicated people, you have undoubtedly felt the concern that is inevitable when taking on that sort of responsibility. The Beyster Institute at UCSD has developed a special intensive education program to help relieve some of that concern - the Certificate Program for Non-Professional ESOP Fiduciaries.

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