When an ESOP buys stock from selling shareholders for the first time, or in a follow-on transaction, or when an ESOP is terminated or the sponsor company sold, an exhaustive process must be followed to ensure that the transaction is fair to the ESOP participants.
ESOP transactions can attract particular scrutiny from regulatory agencies and plaintiff’s attorneys representing participants. This largely stems from the inherent conflicts of interest that arise when a qualified retirement plan is engaging in transactions with the plan sponsor company and its owners.
Because of the complexity that can often arise in an ESOP transaction, a high degree of care must be taken by the trustee and their valuation advisor along with legal counsel to ensure that the transaction is fair to the ESOP and meets strict federal regulatory requirements.
Top ESOP trustees are conscientious and diligent and rely on valuation advisors who follow an equally stringent process in determining fair market value and assessing the financial fairness of an ESOP transaction.
DEEP CLIENT BASE
Because we work with over 60 ESOPs every year, we regularly work closely with a variety of trustees, ERISA attorneys, company advisors, and other ESOP professionals in addressing a wide range of unique ESOP valuation issues. This frequent practice keeps us on the forefront of how unique ESOP valuation issues are best treated in the ESOP community.
We complement this experience with continuous learning through our active involvement in the ESOP community through seminars and conferences. We find that this in-person participation in the ESOP community provides both formal continuing education in the form of conference content and invaluable informal sharing of best practices with the other professionals with whom we have built lasting relationships.
Through our extensive experience, we have developed best-in-class technical approaches to addressing important ESOP-specific valuation issues. We apply these approaches in addition to the robust process that underpins all of our valuations.