Who Are ESOP Fiduciaries and What Are Their Responsibilities?

  • Any person with discretion over the management or administration of a plan, or who exercises any authority or control over plans assets, is a fiduciary under ERISA. The ESOP trustee, or any other person or committee designated in the plan documents as responsible for making investments in company stock, is a “named fiduciary.”
  • ERISA requires that plan fiduciaries act prudently and solely in the interest of plan participants. Three of the most important responsibilities of an ESOP fiduciary are:
    • Securing a proper valuation of the stock;
    • Assuring that the interests of plan participants are protected in ESOP transactions; and
    • Approving purchases and sales of ESOP stock.