RALEIGH, N.C. – Three Smith Anderson attorneys presented at the 2012 Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) Conference in Pinehurst, North Carolina on March 25-26, 2012.
Sandy Costa, Of Counsel to Smith Anderson, was the Keynote Speaker. His presentation, “Humanity in the Workplace,” described the leadership attributes that lead to a loyal and engaged workforce. Mr. Costa is a regular speaker at conferences across the nation. Prior to working at Smith Anderson, he was the COO of Quintiles Transnational Corp.
Caryn McNeill, a partner at Smith Anderson, led a program titled “Valuation JEOPARDY!” This session allowed attendees to test their knowledge of valuation and fiduciary issues in a light-hearted quiz-show format. Ms. McNeill leads Smith Anderson’s Employee Benefits and Compensation practice group. She has extensive experience with ESOP and ESOP transactions.
Craig Wheaton, a partner at Smith Anderson, presented a Legal and Regulatory Update. This session reviewed recent legislative, regulatory, and case law developments of interest to the ESOP community. The topics covered included court and Department of Labor activity related to indemnification of ESOP fiduciaries, the status of efforts to update the definition of “fiduciary,” and recent “stock-drop” litigation. Mr. Wheaton’s practice focuses on employee benefits, including welfare plans, executive compensation, and fiduciary compliance.
ESOPs are a special type of retirement plan and have many tax advantages. ESOPs allow employees to participate in company growth on a tax-favored basis and can be used to finance company growth with pre-tax dollars or provide liquidity for company owners. Smith Anderson has an active ESOP practice and regularly assists employers of all sizes with the legal and tax aspects of establishing ESOPs and ESOP-based transactions. The firm also advises ESOP fiduciaries and provides assistance in governmental investigations and adversarial proceedings related to retirement plans and employer stock investments.