Blue Ridge ESOP Associates Industry News

Lost Participants

Posted by Nathan Charette

Sep 8, 2017 2:00:00 PM

There was a participant who moved away.
Where has he gone?  He didn’t say.
Our paths never cross.
And now he’s lost.
He’s due some money. But how can I pay?

Especially for plans that have a period of delay prior to distributing participant balances, it is only a matter of time before you may come across a former participant with a vested balance that you are unable to contact.  When mail comes back as undeliverable, and the phone number on record no longer belongs to the former employee, what further action is required?  Finding missing participants can be a challenge.  Fortunately there are guidelines for a fiduciary to follow and your third party administrator is happy to assist with the process.

First, check the plan document. This advice rings true for just about every issue that may arise with a qualified retirement plan.  Your plan document may include the steps to be taken to locate a lost participant and the steps to be taken if the participant cannot be found. 

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Communicate the ESOP Advantage to Recruit and Retain Employees

Posted by Blue Ridge ESOP Associates

Sep 8, 2017 2:00:00 PM

The US economy added 209,000 jobs in July, dropping the unemployment rate to 4.3%, the lowest level in sixteen years. It’s no secret that it’s getting more difficult to recruit and retain employees. Employee ownership gives you a clear advantage against the competition, but only if you effectively communicate its benefits to current and potential employees.

Here’s three practical ideas you can integrate into your written, electronic, video, and face-to-face communications to gain the employee ownership’s recruitment and retention dividends.

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Topics: ESOP Communications

The Importance of a Distribution Policy

Posted by Jessica Sinnen

Sep 8, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Does your company need a written distribution policy?  The purpose of this article is to provide a high level overview of the importance of a written distribution policy and topics to consider. 

Your Plan Document will discuss the requirements for paying out distributions to plan participants once a distributable event occurs - death, disability, retirement, termination, QDROs or diversification.  Some plans also allow for in-service distributions, dividend pass-through, and hardship withdrawals, which you may want to include in your policy. The provisions listed in the document generally fall along the statutory guidelines, which are the maximum payout terms allowed by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Your written distribution policy should address form, method and timing of distributions payouts.

A distribution policy may be part of the plan document, yet most times it is a separate document. A separate document allows for easy modification when the need arises. Qualified plans are subject to IRC Section 411(d)(6) regarding distribution requirement modifications, however ESOPs are an exception to this rule as long as they are updated in a “non-discriminatory” manner. Along with the plan document, the IRS may request to review the policy as part of their determination review process.     

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Topics: Plan Design, Distributions

What exactly is the Summary Annual Report and what do I do with it?

Posted by Ray Mazurowski

Sep 8, 2017 2:00:00 PM

The Summary Annual Report (SAR) is a summary of the IRS Form 5500 that must be distributed to all plan participants. You’ll typically receive a copy of the SAR with your plan Participant Statements. Compliance is mandatory, and penalties for willful noncompliance can include fines in excess of $100,000, imprisonment up to 10 years, or both.

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Topics: Form 5500, DOL, Summary Annual Report

Washington Post Opinion Page: It’s time to balance the power between workers and employers

Posted by Lawrence Summers

Sep 8, 2017 1:20:49 PM

In this Washington Post article, Lawrence Summers expounds on the topic about it being time to balance the power between workers and employees, and he suggests that "policy makers should support institutions such as employee stock ownership plans, where workers have a chance to share in profits and in corporate governance". Read more here.

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2017 Multi-State ESOP Conference

Posted by Blue Ridge ESOP Associates

Sep 6, 2017 4:41:03 PM

The 2017 Multi-State Conference - PA/DE and NY/NJ Chapters will be September 13-15, 2017. Due to high demand, you must act quickly as registration will close this Friday, September 8. At this conference, stop by our table to visit with our professionals. You will have the opportunity to hear Jon Williams speak Thursday morning about "Basic ESOP Distribution Rules" which will provide attendees a refresher course in the options and requirements for making distribution payments. You will also have the opportunity to hear Renee Stadtmueller speak Thursday afternoon regarding "How a Repurchase Obligation Study Can Help You Optimize your ESOP" which will discuss how you can use the repurchase study tool to help you make educated decisions as you develop your strategy for managing the ESOP.
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Topics: ESOP Administration, Distributions, Conferences

ESCA: District Visits Report

Posted by ESCA

Aug 25, 2017 10:10:00 AM

Visit #1: James Estes, Regional Representative for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), visited ESCA Board member Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) Charlotte facility last week. SEL employee-owners and Government Affairs Representative Larry Camm spoke with the Senator's Regional Representative about the culture of employee-ownership and gave a tour of the SEL Charlotte facility.

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Topics: Congressional Visits

NCEO Webinar: Handling the Repurchase Obligation: Forecasting

Posted by Blue Ridge ESOP Associates

Aug 23, 2017 1:25:00 PM

The National Center for Employee Ownership hosts live webinars throughout the year for ESOP companies. Blue Ridge ESOP Associates' professional, Kevin Rusch, will be presenting next Wednesday, August 29.

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Topics: Repurchase Obligation

NCEO: The Oconomowoc ESOP Nuts and Bolts Seminar

Posted by Blue Ridge ESOP Associates

Aug 18, 2017 4:58:00 PM

Come to the ESOP Nuts and Bolts seminar Tuesday, August 29th in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. 

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2017 Midwest ESOP Conference

Posted by Blue Ridge ESOP Associates

Aug 16, 2017 4:21:51 PM

The 2017 Midwest ESOP Conference will be September 7-8, 2017. Due to high demand, you must act quickly as registration will close this Friday, August 18. At this conference, stop by our booth to visit with our professionals. You will also have the opportunity to hear  Pam Themar speak at the session ESOP Essentials: Basic ESOP Administration which will cover the basic overview of plan administration; covering eligibility, allocation activity, vesting requirements, compliance testing, distributions and reporting requirements.
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Topics: ESOP Administration, Distributions, Conferences

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Blue Ridge ESOP Associates can provide everything you need to administer your ESOP, 401(k) or combination ESOP/401(k) plan. Our full service outsourcing, which can include participant on-line services, provides worry-free  assistance for your HR or Benefits staff, leaving them free to concentrate on other responsibilities.

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