ESOP RO & Sustainability

Ask the expert
Contact Ryan Graham for more information on ESOP RO & Sustainability
Featured Articles
Feature Body: 

Repurchase Obligation Analysis

Meeting ongoing repurchase obligations (RO) is the number one anxiety expressed by ESOP company executives. Chartwell's Repurchase Obligation Analysis provides company leaders with a 20-year forecast of ESOP distributions and the associated company cash requirements. The board-friendly report presents the detailed RO drivers and results in an easy to comprehend document. The analysis also has the capability to evaluate alternative ESOP features or practices and compare the impact on the company’s cash requirements and participants’ account balances.

The Repurchase Obligation Analysis is customized to answer your specific questions. For example:

  • Will our current contribution level be enough to fund the future RO?
  • What level of benefit is being provided to ESOP participants?
  • What is the effect of changing the ESOP distribution policy?

Repurchase Obligation Analysis helps companies of any size or maturity anticipate ESOP-related cash requirements and monitor potential ESOP issues.

ESOP Sustainability Study

Chartwell’s ESOP Sustainability Study—a dynamic, multi-layered analysis—integrates company and ESOP financial forecasts, future valuations, and RO results into a single, comprehensive report, providing outcomes for the company, key executives, shareholders, and ESOP participants.

Mature ESOPs are confronted with a variety of complex challenges which merit this higher level, more comprehensive financial analysis. Common issues may include:

  • Growing concern that the RO consumes larger amounts of the company’s cash flows, impairing the financial ability to invest and grow
  • Significant ownership held by terminated participants no longer driving equity value growth
  • New management teams with a relatively small equity stake in the company
  • Ownership disparity among employees with have/have-not concerns

Our creativity and expertise allow us to recommend solutions, which may include changes to ESOP practices, potential transactions, and corporate actions to optimize outcomes for key stakeholders.

Service Category: 

Ryan Graham

Ryan Graham

Ryan leads Chartwell’s repurchase obligation and sustainability practice, providing ESOP-owned companies a holistic approach to corporate sustainability. Ryan has been assisting privately-held business owners and management teams in analyzing the financial impact of transactions and the ongoing repurchase obligation for ESOP companies since 2004. He is recognized nationally as a leader in ESOP sustainability and repurchase obligation forecasting. Throughout his career, Ryan has worked with companies of many different sizes in diverse industries across the country. Ryan has worked with over a third of NCEO’s “The Employee Ownership 100: America’s Largest Majority Employee-Owned Companies.”



Ryan is an active member of The ESOP Association, where he currently serves on the Administration Advisory Committee, the Programming Committee for the Wisconsin chapter, and the Advocacy Committee for the Minnesota/Dakotas chapter. Ryan is also a member of the National Center for Employee Ownership.


Ryan has presented to employee groups, management teams, boards of directors, investors, and trustees on the topics of ESOP sustainability, ESOP repurchase obligation, and the benefits of ESOP ownership.



Prior to Chartwell, Ryan led the ESOP Financial Analysis Team at Principal Financial Group, providing repurchase liability, feasibility, sustainability and benefit-level modeling to ESOP companies, and helped develop the online repurchase liability modeling software used by hundreds of ESOP companies annually.


Ryan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater.