The Menke Group’s combined staff of professional ESOP advisors, lawyers, administrators, and appraisers provides Menke Group clients with all of the ancillary services needed to maintain and operate their ESOPs, including the following:
We have a staff of two employee communications professionals who specialize in developing and presenting customized PowerPoint presentations to new and existing ESOP participants. Each of them has had years of experience in making ESOP presentations, and both are fully prepared to answer any and all questions about the design and operation of ESOPs.
Key Employee Incentive Plans
As and when requested, our legal staff will work with you to design and draft key employee incentive plans that are designed to provide additional equity incentives for key employees over and above their allocations of company stock within the ESOP. Depending upon your goals and objectives, these incentive plans may take the form of a Stock Purchase Plan, a Stock Option Plan, a Management Stock Bonus Plan or a Phantom Stock Plan. We will work with your management team to determine which plan or plans will best accomplish your objectives, and we will then draft the legal documents needed to implement the plan or plans that you have selected.
Repurchase Liability Studies
As and when needed, we will work with your ESOP point-person to develop near-term forecasts of your ESOP repurchase liability. In those cases where a formal repurchase liability study is required by your lender or by your outside trustee, we will work with your ESOP point-person and an outside specialist in repurchase liability studies (ESOP Economics, Inc.) to develop long-term repurchase liability forecasts.
IRC §409(p) Analysis and/or Certification
In the case of S corporation ESOPs, failure to comply with the requirements of IRC §409(p) can cause the ESOP to lose its exemption from the unrelated business income tax and can also result in Plan disqualification. To prevent this from happening, our administration staff will prepare a preliminary §409(p) analysis for your Plan prior to the beginning of each new Plan Year to determine if the projected allocations are likely to result in violating the requirements of §409(p). If the analysis indicates that a probable violation will occur, our administration staff, together with our legal staff, will suggest options and alternatives to prevent a probable §409(p) violation. In those cases where your lender or your outside trustee wants independent verification that your ESOP is in compliance with §409(p), we will prepare a formal §409(p) Certification that the Plan is in compliance with §409(p).
All of our ESOP Advisors were trained as bankers and/or investment bankers before joining the Menke Group, and their average years of service after joining the Menke Group is in excess of 20 years of service. Based on their many years of experience in designing and installing ESOPs, our ESOP Advisors can in most cases readily determine if an ESOP is feasible in your situation by simply reviewing your company’s recent financial history and then discussing your goals and objectives with you over the telephone. In those cases where your outside shareholders or lenders require a formal feasibility study, our ESOP Advisors will prepare a custom-designed feasibility study containing various financial models and projections that illustrate how the ESOP can best be designed to provide the maximum possible tax and financial benefits for your shareholders.
IRS and DOL Audit Assistance
In the event that your Plan is audited by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) or the Department of Labor (“DOL”), our administration staff will assemble the reports and records that the IRS and/or DOL has requested. Our administration staff will also assist you in explaining these reports to the IRS and/or DOL representatives. In the event that the IRS and/or DOL questions any of your ESOP’s actions or operations, our legal staff is available to assist you in responding to these questions.
Continuing ESOP Education
It is important that your ESOP point-persons be as knowledgeable as possible regarding the mechanics and operations of ESOP in general in order to minimize inadvertent errors and misunderstandings. Accordingly, we offer, free of charge, various forms of ESOP continuing education throughout the year to our existing clients, including the following:
Live ESOP Seminars
Each year we present over 60 full-day or half-day seminars throughout the country. These seminars cover ESOP basics from A to Z. Existing clients are invited to attend these seminars free of charge.
Each year we present several client webinars regarding recurring ESOP issues, such as how to deal with the ESOP repurchase liability, how to structure ESOP transactions, how to structure key employee incentive plans, etc. These webinars are designed exclusively for Menke Group clients, and these webinars are free of charge.
Technical Issues Webinars
Each year we present a six hour webinar on ESOP Technical Issues. This is usually broken up into three hour segments that are presented on three successive days in September or October. The purpose of this webinar is to provide a more technical explanation of ESOP issues from A to Z. Again, this webinar is designed primarily for Menke Group clients, and this webinar is free to charge.