Blue Ridge ESOP Associates prides itself in preparing this quarterly newsletter to share information with our clients. The most important item on everyone’s minds currently is the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a mature company delivering essential services to clients like you, we have long had a plan in place for dealing with issues such as this pandemic. This plan ensures you will be supported regardless of events such as the spread of COVID-19. It accounts for multiple levels of business continuity and includes contingencies for everything from customer support, IT information and security, and client services.
Our goal is to help contain and reduce the possible risk of spreading COVID-19 among our employees while ensuring we continue to deliver the ESOP and 401(k) services you expect from us.
Under normal business conditions, over 60% of our employees work from remote locations outside of our headquarters in Charlottesville, VA. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, we have asked the majority of our remaining office staff to work remotely from home to increase the social distancing encouraged by our leaders to help fight this pandemic. As of today, we are down to a limited number of employees remaining in our home office to handle physical office-based operations such as handling of incoming and outgoing mail. Our plan is working, allowing virtually all our employees to work remotely without any impacts on their daily job functions.
We also have received many questions from you, our clients, regarding how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact the ongoing administration of your ESOP and 401(k) plans. If you are a member of either The ESOP Association or the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), you should note that they are both sponsoring webinars starting as early as Friday, March 27th and going over the next couple of weeks to address ESOP specific concerns that ESOP companies have expressed.
To help address the issues which are unique to ESOP’s sponsored by privately held companies, we will also be presenting a webinar specifically for our clients titled “Potential COVID-19 impacts on ESOP Companies”. You should receive a separate invitation to this webinar shortly, which will only be available to clients of Blue Ridge ESOP Associates. If you have any specific questions that you would like us to address in this webinar, we encourage you to reach out to your plan administrator to share any questions you have. While we cannot promise to address all questions that our clients have, we will do our best to address the hot topics that are being brought up most frequently in the ESOP community.
We also want to make you aware of ways that we can help support you during this pandemic. For those clients that utilize our full service ESOPConnection website, the website can be used as a tool to help communicate important information to your participants. Whether it’s in the form of a link to a company message or an e-mail notification to participants, please let us know how we can help. For those clients who expect to have distribution processing in the near future, the website can also be used as a tool to collect participant elections electronically to minimize the amount of paper intensive elections. Making elections online also allows your employees to elect to have their payments sent electronically via ACH (direct deposit) to their checking or savings account, or via wire transfer to a rollover institution.
Our finance area would also like to encourage our clients to use electronic means for payment of invoices. Especially at a time where offices are closed and the ability to issue paper checks may be compromised, please note we can accept payments via ACH or Wire transfer to facilitate payments. Please reach out to us if you would like more information.
We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and will share updated information with you as the need arises. In the meantime, we encourage you to continue to reach out to us with your questions and comments.
Blue Ridge ESOP Associates