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1/9/2018: DOL Continues to Watch ESOP Valuations with Recent Trustee Settlements (Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP)
"While these settlements are aimed primarily at trustees and their valuation advisors, employers who are considering sponsoring an ESOP as well as the lenders ... to ESOP sponsors should pay attention to these settlements as well. If a portion of the sale proceeds must be returned to the trust, that could affect the amount that the selling shareholders ultimately receive, particularly if the sellers financed part of the deal. In some situations, depending on the transaction documents, an ESOP sponsor may be required to indemnify an ESOP trustee. As a result, the company and its lenders could pay a price if the trustee violates its ERISA fiduciary duties with respect to the valuation process."
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