Raleigh, NC (April 4, 2011) – Caryn McNeill and Craig Wheaton, partners with Smith Anderson’s Employee Benefits and Compensation practice group, were presenters at the Tri-Chapter Regional Conference March 27-29 at the Pinehurst Resort. The event was sponsored by The Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic and New South Chapters of The ESOP Association.
Ms. McNeill was part of a panel on “Fiduciaries & Valuations.” This program, which focused on the critical role ESOP fiduciaries play with respect to valuations of employer stock, reviewed the legal requirements applicable to valuations and the valuation process itself.
Mr. Wheaton participated in a discussion titled “Keeping Score: Lessons Learned Structuring Executive Compensation in 12 ESOP Companies.” In this discussion, the panel examined common trends, identified difficulties when recruiting and retaining executives at ESOP companies, and addressed common pitfalls in governance surrounding the process for setting executive compensation.
ESOPs, or “employee stock ownership plans,” are a special type of qualified retirement plan. Although ESOPs can be used in a number of settings, they are most commonly used by shareholders of privately-held companies to diversify out of their holdings on a tax-advantaged basis. Used this way, they serve as one answer to a dilemma common to a growing number of baby-boomer entrepreneurs pondering the future of companies they have built from scratch – how to cash out of their closely-held company and diversify their holdings.
Ms. McNeill, Mr. Wheaton and the other attorneys in Smith Anderson’s ESOP Practice Group have more than 50 years combined experience working with ESOPs. They are active in the national ESOP community. They hold leadership positions in The ESOP Association at the state chapter level and regularly speak on ESOP issues at state and regional conferences.