The Statistical Profile of Employee Ownership was updated in February 2009. The estimating techniques have been revised to create a more accurate estimate of the number of plans:
ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans) are stock bonus plans qualified to borrow money; otherwise, the two types of plans are very similar. Estimating the number of ESOP companies, participants, and the assets they hold is limited by the availability and quality of data collected by the US Department of Labor through form 5500.
The NCEO has revised its estimates for the number of ESOPs, using a consistent and conservative method across each plan filing year from 1999 on (earlier estimates use a different combination of methods). You may have seen somewhat different numbers in prior years, but we believe this new technique is both more conservative and more accurate. The current method begins with all available 5500 records. The NCEO cleaned the data in as many ways as possible by searching for missing data, removing companies that appear to have inactive ESOPs, and removing records with obvious errors. We erred on the side of making the most conservative estimate we were comfortable with, especially with regard to the number of plans.
The NCEO is only confident about the number participants and the value of plan assets through 2006. As a result of the revised techniques, the historical numbers will differ from the numbers discussed in 2007 ESOP Statistics, Estimating Techniques, 1993 Peak, and Aggressive Acquirers. Here are some of the latest ESOP statistics:
- The number of "ESOPs, stock bonus plans, & profit sharing plans primarily invested in employer stock" increased to 11,400 (from 11,000 in 2007 and 9,700 in 2006)
- The most recent available number of participants of "ESOPs, stock bonus plans, & profit sharing plans primarily invested in employer stock" was 13.7 million in 2006
- The most recent available value of plan assets of "ESOPs, stock bonus plans, & profit sharing plans primarily invested in employer stock" increased to $923 billion
The following statistics do not appear to have been updated from last year:
- 30% of the private company ESOPs owned 51-100% of the company stock, 30% owned 31-50%, 20% owned 11-30%, and 20% owned 0-10%
- 40% of majority-owned private ESOP companies pass through full voting rights, compared to 20% of all private ESOP companies
- The mean allocation to a private ESOP is 8-10% of compensation. The mean number of employees is 1,460, and the median is 125