Principal® kicks-off national effort to boost low business succession planning

Highlights ESOPs as an underutilized option; launches online suite of resources for advisors

Principal Financial Group® kicked off a new initiative to collaborate with advisors today to help boost low succession planning among U.S. business owners. Principal® highlights employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) as an important option for advisors to consider when assessing clients’ and potential clients’ succession planning needs. To support advisors, the company developed a first of its kind, action-oriented website to help guide succession planning conversations.

Succession plans are essential for business owners that want to ensure their business remains viable and continues to support the economy. However, more than 70% of business owners in the U.S. do not have a formal plan and are not taking action.1

“We’ve worked with advisors around the country to facilitate many business succession plans and ESOPs,” said Jerry Ripperger, vice president of consulting at Principal. “While ESOPs are not a new phenomenon, they are an underutilized strategy in helping business owners successfully plan their exit strategy and leave behind a legacy they can be proud of.”

Unique online resource unlocks potential of ESOPs in succession planning

Advisors are encouraged to visit and use it to help guide dialogue with business owners about their succession plan and future goals. Features include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Ways to help business owners see the value of a succession plan
  • Answers to top questions advisors and business owners have about ESOPs
  • Quick survey to assess if ESOP is right for a client or potential client
  • ESOP benefits for advisors, business owners and their employees
  • Easy access to Principal succession planning and our ESOP expertise

As a part of continued commitment to succession planning with ESOP education, Principal will roll out a series of activities in 2018 including blogs, event sponsorships, marketing materials, and regular updates to the new website.

“ESOPs are a smart strategy with multiple benefits for trusted advisors working to help business owners overcome challenges and maximize opportunities,” said Ripperger.

According to research findings from The ESOP Association, there is a direct correlation between ESOPs and business performance.2

  • ESOPs create a buyer (the employees) for the business2
  • ESOPs have been shown to positively affect company culture and increase revenue2
  • Business owners receive tax, liquidity and legacy benefits with an ESOP2

News Release Contact

Retirement Plans

Hillary Gebert

Lonnetta Ragland 

Securian Financial Group. 2015 Securian Small Business Owner Life Stage Study, April 2016.

The ESOP Association. The 24th Annual Economic Performance Survey of ESOPs, October 2015.

About Principal®

Principal helps people and companies around the world build, protect and advance their financial well-being through retirement, insurance and asset management solutions that fit their lives. Our employees are passionate about helping clients of all income and portfolio sizes achieve their goals–offering innovative ideas, investment expertise and real-life solutions to make financial progress possible. To find out more, visit us at