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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

May 2, 2011

(Loren Rodgers)

New Data on the Number of ESOPs

In mid-April the NCEO released its most recent estimates of the number of ESOPs and ESOP-equivalent plans. Based on data from the Department of Labor and methods for estimating companies missing from that data, the NCEO revised upwards the number of ESOPs it believes existed at year-end 2008 from 10,800 plans to our new estimate of 11,100 plans. We can now estimate the number of ESOP participants for 2008 at 13.6 million, up from 12.7 million at the end of 2007. Plan terminations in 2008 were 3.2%, the lowest number on record. Based in part on the termination data, the NCEO estimates that there were at least 10,900 ESOPs at the end of 2009 and 11,300 at the end of 2010.

Rosen Fund Announces Initial Projects; End of Funding Solicitation

The Rosen Ownership Opportunities Fund now has nearly $140,000 contributed by over 70 donors. Its advisory committee met and approved three projects, one to fund two fellowships in employee ownership at Rutgers University, one that will allow outreach to trade and professional media and organizations, and one to facilitate experts in employee ownership to speak at civic groups. The fund will stop soliciting donations on May 6, but donations may always be made on the fund's donation page. The fund's mission is to support research, education, and innovation to expand ownership opportunities for employees and to honor Corey Rosen.

Employee Ownership Common in China, But Rules Are Uncertain

Broad-based employee ownership appears to be a very common practice in China, especially for divesting government-owned enterprises. But finding useful data or analyses of just how widespread the practice is or how it is structured is very difficult. A recent paper provides some clues. It confirms that employee ownership is very commonly used but that there are no uniform laws of how the plans should be set up. Different municipal and provincial governments have different approaches, while national law often requires round-about approaches to implementing plans. Financing still relies heavily on employee investment. The author suggests a series of reforms to create standard practices with more incentives. The paper has been very awkwardly translated, and there is no author linked to it, but it appears credible. To see the article, go to this link.

2011 Innovations Awards Winners

At a ceremony during the annual employee ownership conference in Denver, three companies received the Innovations in Employee Ownership Award: an engineering and architecture firm, a company that makes after-market automotive products, and a third-party insurance claims administrator. Cal-Tex Protective Coatings, Meier Architecture * Engineering, and Carl Warren & Company accepted the awards, which recognize creative ideas that help make employee ownership stronger. The Innovations Award is sponsored by TEOCO Corporation, based in Fairfax, VA. See our Innovations Award page for more about the 2011 winners, the awards program, and a list of prior winners.

Vermont Employee Ownership Conference on June 10

The Vermont Employee Ownership Conference will be June 10, 2011, at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. The conference is designed for business owners and employees interested in bringing employee ownership to their companies; members of existing employee-owned businesses; economic development professionals; bankers, accountants, attorneys and financial planners; and anyone interested in employee participation or sustainable business models. Full conference details and online registration are available at For more information, call 802-861-6611 or email

Column by Corey Rosen

While Corey is no longer writing this column, you can see his most recent thinking in his column Observations on Employee Ownership.

From the New Executive Director

Thank you to all the people who have been so warm and supportive of me as I begin my tenure as the NCEO's executive director. I am thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to preserve the quality and integrity you expect from the NCEO, and I am excited to expand that range of what we offer. Employee ownership companies are boundlessly creative, and we aim to match that level of innovation. With the strength, experience, and passion everyone on staff brings to everything we do, you will find that the NCEO remains your best source for accurate, reliable information on employee ownership and a trustworthy partner to help you take full advantage of the potential of shared ownership.

Author biography and other columns in this series

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