Innovation and Wealth Creation with 401(k) ESOPs

PKF O’Connor Davies, Holland & Knight LLP, Stout, and Greenberg & Rapp invite business owners, tax & finance directors, in-house counsel, bankers and investment professionals for a half-day event examining the use of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) to generate wealth and opportunity for companies.

ESOPs are commonly used by owners seeking to retire, but there’s a unique opportunity to use a 401(k) ESOP to position your company to address disruptive innovation, allow for acquisitions, and help attract, retain, and reward top talent—all while creating wealth for all stakeholders.

This half-day event will bring together business leaders and ESOP specialists to discuss proven methods for maximizing the benefits of ESOPs at any sized company or organization.

Production and programming support is provided by the marketing services team at Bloomberg Next.

Registration is now closed.


Date and Time:
May 14, 2019
2:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Bloomberg, L.P.
120 Park Ave.
New York, NY








2:30 – 2:55          Registration and Networking Coffee 

2:55 – 3:00          Welcome Remarks

  • Jima Islam, Manager, Legal & Tax Content, Bloomberg Next

3:00 – 3:10      Rutgers University NY/NJ Employee Benefits Center Initiative

  • Jim Terez, Associate Director, Rutgers NJ/NY Center for Employee Ownership

3:10 – 4:00     Wealth Creation, Succession Planning & Plan Design

Through the lens of a case study, this segment will focus on how a 401(k) ESOP, designed properly, can provide business owners with a valuable tool for succession planning while offering an opportunity for wealth creation for all stakeholders.

  • Ashley Sarokhan, Senior Vice President, ESOP Practice Leader, Capital One Bank
  • David Pardys, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
  • Miguel Paredes, President & Founder, Prudent Fiduciary Services, LLC
  • John Vitucci, Principal & ESOP Practice Leader, PKF O’Connor Davies

    Moderated by: Aziz El-Tahch, Managing Director, Stout

    4:00 – 4:50    ESOP Sustainability with Pension Plans

    The greatest challenge of an ESOP is the significant participant wealth creation which is called the repurchase obligation.  We will discuss a unique way of re-thinking how to solve a 100% ESOP company's repurchase liability by incorporating a pension plan that can potentially improve the company's cash flow while providing the greatest upside and downside protection to an ESOP company's plan participants.

    • Harvey Katz, Partner, Fox Rothschild
    • Aziz El-Tahch, Managing Director, Stout
    • Kelly L. Bley, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
    • Russell Seacor, Chief Executive Officer & CFO Clean Air Quality Service, Inc.
    Moderated by: John Vitucci, Principal & ESOP Practice Leader, PKF O’Connor Davies


    4:50 – 5:30      Life Insurance, Retiree Medical & Long Term Care Options for an ESOP Company

    Key man insurance and other insurance products can reduce & manage risk for an ESOP company.  Material ESOP wealth creation can allow for the integration of retiree medical benefits and long term care benefits for an ESOP company.

    • Kelly L. Bley, Partner, Holland & Knight, LLP
    • Patrick Maguire, Managing Partner, Greenberg & Rapp
    • Noor Rajah, Owner, Optimizing Foundations LLC

    Moderated by: David Pardys, Partner, Holland & Knight, LLP

    5:30 – 5:35      Closing Comments

    • Alfred Fiore, Principal, PKF O’Connor Davies
    • Jima Islam, Manager, Legal & Tax Content, Bloomberg Next

    5:35 – 6:15      Networking Reception – Meet the Speakers!



    • Bley_Kelly_crop
      Kelly L. Bley, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP

      Kelly L. Bley is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Philadelphia office who concentrates on all aspects of employee benefits law. Her primary focus is on the legal issues associated with tax-qualified retirement plans. She represents domestic and international employers of all sizes, both public and private, with regard to compliance with the Internal Revenue Code and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

      Ms. Bley has significant experience working with large, multinational companies and advising them on the benefit plans that they sponsor. Ms. Bley partners with her clients to understand their business, culture and goals so that she can provide tailored advice with an eye toward the big picture. She has in-depth knowledge of drafting plan documents and amendments of 401(k), profit sharing defined contribution and defined benefit pension plans, drafting board materials and employee communications, advising plan sponsors on plan design issues, benefit claims and dispute resolution, and corporate transactions. Ms. Bley routinely advises clients on benefits design and strategy, de-risking options and company stock issues. She also advises fiduciary committees and makes presentations at fiduciary committee meetings.

      Employers call on Ms. Bley to represent them before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), as well as advise them regarding the complex issues associated with plan administration, both in a preventative capacity through the creation of administrative procedures and best practices, and with regard to IRS and DOL correction programs. Ms. Bley also regularly advises employers on day-to-day plan administration.

      Ms. Bley previously served as in-house counsel for a bank holding company, where she served as head of the Compensation and Benefits Practice Group for the legal department. In this capacity, she served as the main internal point of contact for the human resources and compensation groups regarding qualified, non-qualified and welfare benefit plans for the organization. That familiarity with experiencing plan administration on a day-to-day basis makes Ms. Bley particularly well-suited to crafting successful solutions to real-life benefits issues in a practical, efficient manner. Prior to joining Holland & Knight, she was a partner in a large international law firm.

    • AElTahch_crop
      Aziz El-Tahch, Managing Director, Stout

      Aziz El-Tahch is a Managing Director in the Valuation Advisory group and Stout’s ESOP & ERISA Advisory practice Co-leader. He has experience in the valuation of companies, business interests, and securities, for numerous purposes, and has extensive experience in the valuation of business ownership interests in Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), and has performed analyses related to ESOP security formation and transactions, determination of transaction fairness and adequate consideration, and annual employer security valuation updates.

      Mr. El-Tahch has presented at numerous conferences and seminars on the subjects of valuation and transaction advisory services. He has also published articles on the use of ESOPs to facilitate business transitions and the valuation of intangible property in the context of transfer pricing analyses. In addition to serving as co-lead of Stout’s ESOP & ERISA Advisory practice, Mr. El-Tahch also serves on the board of directors of Dynetics, Inc., a 100% ESOP-owned aerospace and defense company with approximately 1,400 employees.
      Prior to joining Stout, Mr. El-Tahch was a Senior Investment Analyst at a New York-based alternative assets investment fund with approximately $500 million under management. At the fund, he focused on credit card debt securitizations, collateralized debt obligation (CDO) and collateralized loan obligation (CLO) securities, and second-lien and mezzanine loans to middle-market companies.

      Professional Memberships

      • CFA Institute  New York Society of Security Analysts
      • ESOP Association, Member of Legal & Regulatory Committee, former officer of the Executive Committee of the New York/New Jersey Chapter
      • Advisory Committee, Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA)
      • National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO)  Rutgers NJ/NY Center for Employee Ownership, Advisory Board Member
      • Association for Corporate Growth  National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Community Engagement
      • All Angels Episcopal Church of New York City, Finance Committee


    • Al_Fiore_crop
      Alfred Fiore, Principal, PKF O'Connor Davies

      Alfred W. Fiore is a Principal of the Firm who focuses on providing clients with strategic consulting services. His leadership experience includes close and direct involvement with corporate executives, boards of directors and compensation committees in developing and implementing their incentive-driven compensation programs for senior management and directors.

      Mr. Fiore’s broad background includes twenty-five years with a Big Four accounting firm. As an audit partner in the New York office, Mr. Fiore was a member of the Operating Committee and was responsible for a segment of the audit practice specializing in manufacturing and financial services clients. In addition, he was a member of the firm’s Paris office where he served on the Professional Practice Committee and coordinated the services provided to several multinational corporations by the firm’s European offices. Subsequently, Mr. Fiore has served as an independent director and has provided strategic consulting services to clients across a broad range of industries.

    • Katz_Harvey_crop
      Harvey Katz, Partner, Fox Rothschild

      Harvey serves as co-chair of Fox Rothschild’s Employee Benefits & Compensation Department. He represents clients in all aspects of pension, executive compensation and employee benefits law. Harvey handles a broad array of sophisticated employee benefits issues for public and private companies, including in connection with Internal Revenue Service, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and Department of Labor audits, and the benefit problems facing employers in financial distress and those with overfunded plans. In addition, Harvey has experience in post-retirement medical benefits for governmental and private employers, with knowledge in the use of employee stock ownership plans for business succession planning and corporate acquisitions. He also brings a wealth of experience regarding fiduciary responsibilities imposed upon employers, trustees and administrators under federal law. In addition, Harvey is knowledgeable about issues related to multiemployer plans, including withdrawal liability and funding issues.

      He has represented employers and trustees in connection with employee stock ownership plans on compliance, fiduciary and transactional matters and use of ESOPs in connection with business acquisitions. A frequent lecturer, Harvey has authored numerous articles on a variety of employee benefits topics. He is past president of ASPPA Benefits Counsel of New York, a professional association of actuaries and other pension professionals. He received his LL.M. from Temple University (1982), his J.D. from New York Law School (1977) and a B.A. from Temple University (1973). He is admitted to practice in New York and Pennsylvania.

    • Patrick_Maguire_crop
      Patrick Maguire, Managing Partner, Greenberg and Rapp

      Patrick joined Eagle Rock, a Greenberg and Rapp Company in 2004 after working as a systems analyst in the defense industry. Spending a majority of his career in the financial services industry has given Patrick a broad knowledge of insurance and investment products and their uses in both up and down markets. A noted expert on topics such as annuities and life insurance, Patrick has given numerous talks and presentations on such topics as estate planning techniques, charitable giving strategies, and wealth transfer for businesses.

      Patrick is active in charities both in New Jersey and his native upstate New York. He has sat on the Otsego County Youth Board, is a committee member of the Madison Co-op Nursery School and is an avid supporter of Opportunities for Otsego, the Bassett Hospital Network, CARE animal rescue and the OHS alumni association.

      Patrick lives in Madison, New Jersey with his wife Elizabeth and their son Keegan. In his free time, Patrick enjoys reading, spending time with his family and watching sports.

    • Pardys_David_crop
      David Pardys, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP

      David Pardys is an employee benefits and executive compensation attorney in Holland & Knight's Philadelphia office. He focuses his practice on employee stock ownership plans (ESOP), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and executive compensation. Mr. Pardys represents private companies, selling shareholders, financial institutions and independent fiduciaries in all facets of an ESOP transaction. He handles ESOP transactions in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, food service, insurance, travel services, financial services and healthcare. In addition, Mr. Pardys possesses an in-depth knowledge about tax-exempt entities, federal tax law and representations before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In the community, Mr. Pardys is an adjunct professor at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law, where he teaches classes in Federal Income Tax and Employee Benefit. He previously was an adjunct professor in the graduate tax program at the Georgetown University Law Center. 

    • Headshot_Miguel_Paredes_crop
      Miguel Paredes, President & Founder, Prudent Fiduciary Services

      Miguel Paredes is professional ERISA fiduciary and founder of Prudent Fiduciary Services, LLC.  Mr. Paredes provides Independent fiduciary, ERISA compliance consulting, and expert witness services, with a focus on ESOP Trustee services.

      Mr. Paredes holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, San Marcos and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Isenberg School of Management.  Mr. Paredes also holds the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor and Certified Internal Auditor designations.

      Prior to establishing Prudent Fiduciary Services, Mr. Paredes spent 12 years as an employee benefit plan investigator and supervisor with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).  During his time with EBSA, Mr. Paredes conducted and supervised several hundred investigations of ERISA-covered employee benefit plans, with a focus on Employee Stock Ownership Plans.

      Prior to joining the Department of Labor, Mr. Paredes was part of MassMutual Financial Group’s Corporate Auditing Department, conducting internal audits of the company’s financial statements, as well as auditing the company’s broker dealer, institutional investment, and retirement plan business lines.

      Professional Affiliations:

      • The ESOP Association
      • National Center for Employee Ownership
      • Ohio Employee Ownership Center
      • Western Pension & Benefits Council
      • National Association of Plan Advisors


    • RajahNoor_crop
      Noor Rajah, Owner, Optimizing Foundations LLC

      Noor has more than 20 years of experience in the employee benefits consulting field and extensive experience in the design, funding and administration of defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans as well as Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) plans.

      Noor has conducted several teaching sessions for accountants and other actuaries related to accounting standards for Pension and OPEB: workshops for the AICPA, the New York State Society of CPAs and the Institute of Internal Auditors; as well as sessions at the Enrolled Actuaries meeting and at the Society of Actuaries/Conference of Actuaries meeting.

      Noor has the following professional affiliations:  

      • Fellow, Society of Actuaries

      • Member, American Academy of Actuaries

      • Enrolled Actuary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

      • Fellow, Conference of Consulting Actuaries

      • Chartered Financial Analyst  

      Noor has been teaching at Columbia University since 2007. He has run the actuarial science program at Columbia from 2011 to 2014, served as Associate Dean for the School of Professional Studies from 2013 to 2014 and Interim Dean from 2014 to 2015. Prior to that he has served as a senior manager at Deloitte in New York.

      He has extensive experience in all aspects of pension, post-retirement medical and employee benefits, Noor has provided public and private sector employers with advice and technical assistance in design and/or redesign of pension plans, assessment and optimization of pension processes, vendor evaluation and selection, financial analysis of plan benefits and administrative schemes as well as overall evaluation of financial conditions of employee benefit systems as it relates to medical, dental, life and disability insurance. Noor has worked extensively under US GAAP and IAS standards. He consults on US and international (Asia, Caribbean, Latin America) pension valuations.

      Noor also performed risk management evaluations and optimization for employee benefits systems and has performed risk assessment for large pension plans and stochastic asset liability modeling for the largest deferred compensation schemes on a national basis.

      Noor has also worked on more than 150 U.S. and international M&A diligence reviews serving large private equity firms and strategic buyers helping them assess and mitigate the risks inherent in transactions. 

    • Ashley_Sarokhan_crop
      Ashley Sarokhan, Senior Vice President, ESOP Practice Leader, Capital One Bank

      Ashley Sarokhan is a Senior Vice President and ESOP practice leader within Capital One Bank. In this role, Ashley partners with middle market companies across industries, corporate profiles, and capital structures to advise on financing transactions, as well as foreign exchange and interest rate hedging, and merchant and cash management services. She is an ESOP subject matter expert at Capital One and brings over 15 years of experience in financial services with portfolio management and credit expertise. 

      Professional Affiliations

      Board Member for The Family Center
      Advisory Board Member for the NJ Tech Council
      Steering Committee Member for the CFO Leadership Council


      B.S. in Finance and International Business from Pennsylvania State University
      MBA from NYU Stern School of Business

    • Russell_Seacor_crop
      Russell Seacor, Chief Executive Officer & CFO, Clean Air Quality Service, Inc.

      Russell Seacor is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Clean Air Quality Service, Inc. (“CAQS”). CAQS is a provider of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration services to the Tri-State (New York, New Jersey & Connecticut) area. In 2015, Mr. Seacor and his partners sold 100% of CAQS to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.


    • Jim_Terez_crop
      Jim Terez, Associate Director & Professor, Rutgers University NY/NJ Employee Benefits Center

      Jim Terez is Associate Director of the Rutgers University NJ/NY Center for Employee Ownership.  Jim joined the faculty of Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations in 2014, and teaches compensation & benefits, HR management and finance, HR strategy, and business strategy in both the undergraduate and graduate programs.  Before joining Rutgers, Jim taught part-time in the M.S. program for Human Capital Management at New York University from 2009.  During and prior to teaching at NYU, Jim worked at Citigroup, Citigroup Global Wealth Management, Citigroup Corporate and Investment Bank, Salomon Smith Barney, Shearson Lehman Brothers, Time Inc., and CBS Inc., in Compensation Management, HR reporting, and HR generalist roles.  Jim completed his M.A. at Rutgers University and his M.B.A. at New York University.


    • John_Vitucci_crop
      John Vitucci, Principal & ESOP Practice Leader, PKF O'Connor Davies

      John N. Vitucci is a Principal in the Employee Benefits Services Practice at PKF O’Connor Davies and has more than 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 corporations and investment banks in all areas of employee benefits, executive compensation and ERISA. John is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University where he teaches Pensions & ERISA and Oral Communications for Actuaries in the Actuarial Masters Program. John founded Pension Equity Advisors LLC.

      John was a senior partner at Deloitte Tax LLP where he worked for 24 years. He was the National Employee Benefits Leader, Northeast Employee Benefits Leader and member of the Northeast Tax Management Committee. His primary focus was in serving clients and the development of new employee benefit products. He was previously a pension specialist with the Employee Plans Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

      John frequently speaks at industry seminars on employee benefits. He publishes many articles and is regularly quoted in publications, including The Wall Street Journal. John previously chaired the Employee Benefits Committee for the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. He was the chairperson of Foundation for Accounting Education’s 1994 and 1995 Employee Benefits Conference. He was also a contributing editor of the employee benefits column for The CPA Journal for 4 years.



    Bloomberg, L.P.
    120 Park Ave.
    New York, NY