Although technically only in existence since 1974, the concept of Employee Stock Ownership Plans has been in the law since 1921 in the form of Stock Bonus Plans. Stock Bonus Plans, like Employee Stock Ownership Plans, are tax-exempt trusts which are designed to enable employees to own part or all of the company for which they work, without investing their own funds. The distinguishing feature of an ESOP is that an ESOP, unlike a Stock Bonus Plan, may engage in “leveraged” purchases of company stock. That is, an ESOP may acquire stock not only on a year-by-year basis, but also may borrow funds in order to purchase a block of stock.
The term “Employee Stock Ownership Plan” was first defined by Federal legislation in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Thus, in a sense, the ESOP is a relatively new form of plan which has existed only since September 2, 1974 when ERISA was enacted into law.
From 1974 to date, it has been estimated that 20,000 companies have installed Employee Stock Ownership Plans. The total number of employees currently covered by ESOPs is about 11,000,000.
Menke & Associates, Inc. was founded in 1974 by John Menke who co-authored the landmark ESOP legislation which subsequently spawned the industry. Today, the firm is one of the leading firms in the United States in structuring Employee Stock Ownership Plan transactions.
- The five senior legal department members have an average 26 years of ESOP transaction experience – ranging from 10 to 49 years of experience.
- The five senior investment bankers have an average 26 years of ESOP structuring experience – ranging from 8 years to 37 years.
- The nine ESOP administrators have an average 13 years of ESOP administration experience – ranging from 4 years to 24 years.
- These officers and associates have participated in over 2,500 transactions.