Blue Ridge ESOP Associates Industry News

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

IRS/DOL Corner 2016 Updates

Posted by Dolores P. Lawrence, CPA, QKA

Oct 22, 2015 10:09:08 AM

Form 5500 changes are coming. The IRS published the proposed Form 5500 for 2015, and new questions are embedded in the return:

  • Trust information, including name of trust and its federal identification number, name of trustee and trustee phone number
  • Plan document questions relating to whether the plan has been timely amended ,and a request for the date of the most recent determination letter (or opinion letter for plans using a volume submitter or prototype document)
  • Question regarding any tax deductible dividends paid by a C corporation ESOP
  • Question on whether the plan has incurred unrelated business taxable income
  • 401(k) nondiscrimination testing questions
  • Coverage testing questions
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Topics: ESOP & 401(k) Plans

Conquer the Turbulent Waters of ESOP Ownership

Posted by Blue Ridge ESOP Associates

Oct 22, 2015 10:01:00 AM

Navigating the challenges of your business doesn’t leave a lot of time to plan for how to engage employees in thinking and acting like owners. But, as numerous studies have shown, gaining the performance advantages of shared ownership depends on successful communication that involves employees.
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Topics: ESOP & 401(k) Plans

How to be Creative with Compensation Used to Allocate Contributions

Posted by Anthony Brunsvold

Aug 4, 2015 3:17:16 PM

If you are wondering if your plan can be creative with compensation used to allocate employer contributions, then you need to be aware of the ramifications of such changes.

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Topics: ESOP & 401(k) Plans, ESOP Administration

ESOP & 401(k) Coordination Tips Post-Disclosure-Part 2

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Jul 31, 2014 9:08:00 AM

Read the first section of this article here regarding ESOP & 401(k) Coordination Tips Post-Disclosure.

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Topics: ESOP & 401(k) Plans

ESOP & 401(k) Coordination Tips Post-Disclosure-Part 1

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Jul 31, 2014 8:00:00 AM

After several postponements, 401(k) fee disclosure was mandated by the DOL (Department of Labor) before July 1st of 2012. So what kind of impact have we seen in the ESOP world? Has it been successful in helping plan sponsors and participants understand the costs of their 401(k) Plans?

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Topics: ESOP & 401(k) Plans, ERISA

Tips on Coordinating ESOP/401(k) Plan Design and Administration

Posted by ESOP Association

Apr 24, 2014 3:16:00 PM

Plan_Design_ESOP_401kMost companies with an ESOP also sponsor a 401(k) plan for their employees. However, the designs for these two plans are not always coordinated. The administration of the plans may lack coordination as well. It’s not uncommon to find ESOP and 401(k) plans sponsored by the same employer with differing definitions of compensation, differing eligibility exclusions, etc. Differences “by design” are fine, but unintentional differences can result in operational errors. The following real life examples (and commentary) illustrate the importance of coordinated design for paired ESOP and 401(k) plans.


Example 1: ABC Company adopts a new ESOP. Per the ESOP document, “Compensation” is gross compensation paid, less reimbursements, expense allowances, and fringe benefits. The corresponding definition in the 401(k) plan is gross compensation including fringe benefits. ABC Company provides the same census data to its 401(k) and ESOP administrators. After year end, the plan auditors discover that the ESOP third party administrator (TPA) has used the wrong compensation definition in allocating contributions.

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Topics: Plan Design, ESOP & 401(k) Plans