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Unclaimed Property Focus
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UNCLAIMED PROPERTY FOCUS is a blog written by and for UPPO members, featuring diverse perspectives and insights from unclaimed property practitioners across the U.S. and Canada. We welcome your submissions to Unclaimed Property Focus. Please contact Tim Dressen via tim@uppo.org with any questions about submitting a blog post for consideration and refer to our editorial guidelines when writing your blog post. Disclaimer: Information and/or comments to this blog is not intended as a substitute for legal advice on compliance or reporting requirements.

 

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Meet 2019/20 UPPO President Troy Wangen

Posted By Administration, 1 hour ago
Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Like many UPPO members, Troy Wangen didn’t anticipate a career in unclaimed property upon graduating from college and seeking his first professional position. In fact, he barely knew what unclaimed property was when he applied for a job at Deloitte & Touche LLP, which was hiring in Bismarck, North Dakota, after graduating with a BA in accounting and business administration from University of Mary.

“I applied because I wanted to work at a ‘Big Four’ accounting firm,” Wangen said. “I got the job and, lo and behold, working with and learning from people like Val Jundt, Pam Wentz and Heela Popal –  staples in UPPO and the unclaimed property world – led me down this path. Thirteen years later, I’m the president of UPPO.”

Troy worked at Deloitte in Boston from 2006 – 2009, when the company sold its unclaimed property practice to Thomson Reuters, where he stayed until the end of 2010. In 2011, True Partners Consulting hired him to start an unclaimed property office in its Chicago headquarters.

Troy currently serves as a managing director in True Partners Consulting’s Unclaimed Property Practice. He specializes in the development of strategic defense for unclaimed property audits, including working directly with state administrators/representatives on audit issues and negotiating settlement agreements.

“What really makes me want to come to work every day are my client relations and building those up,” Wangen said. “For a lot of them, unclaimed property compliance was something they had assigned to them. Helping them show they can be successful at managing unclaimed property is rewarding.”

In 2010, Troy attended his first UPPO Annual Conference. He quickly experienced the benefit of networking and learning how other companies were dealing with the same issues he worked on at Deloitte. Soon, former Deloitte coworker Heela Popal asked him to get involved in UPPO’s new Virtual Learning Subcommittee. Eventually, he became chair.

His committee work led to an appointment to the board’s secretary position in 2015, when the current secretary, Carla McGlynn, was elected as second vice president. Two years later, Troy was elected second vice president, resulting in his progression to first vice president last year and, today, 2019/20 president. 

This is a significant year for UPPO, as the organization kicks off a new, three-year strategic plan. The plan includes a new vision statement – “UPPO is the bridge between our members and the states to identify and implement common ground solutions to benefit all stakeholders” – along with goals in the areas of advocacy, public perception, state relations and education.

“A lot of work has been done in some of the areas covered by the plan, but now we get to take that work and really drive it forward,” Wangen said. “As states are implementing their legislation inspired by RUUPA, continuing to build relationships with the states is very important. Our new vision statement highlights that. Also, our board this year is really going to look at who our members are and what that means for dues, service offerings and education. We need to really understand who is benefiting from UPPO and what we can do to help them be more successful.”

When Troy isn’t focusing on the world of unclaimed property, he has a wide variety of hobbies that keep him busy. He loves to travel, whether for weekend trips within the United States or longer vacations internationally. He tries to see as many Broadway shows in New York and touring versions in Chicago as possible, and he enjoys Chicago’s fantastic restaurant scene.

“Although it may be perceived as the opposite of some of my other hobbies, I’m also a NASCAR fan,” Wangen said. “After attending one race with friends, I was hooked. Although a lot of the drivers my friends and I follow have retired, we still try to take in a race or two a year.”

 

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Unclaimed Property News Roundup

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Unclaimed property often makes news headlines beyond the frequent reports of states trying to return money to their citizens. Following is a recap of some recent stories getting news coverage from local and national media outlets. 

 

The IRS is sitting on an estimated $1.4 billion in unclaimed tax refunds

On March 19, 2019, CBS News reported on an estimated $1.4 billion stockpile of unclaimed property held by the Internal Revenue Service. The funds represent income tax overpayments withheld from employee paychecks but not refunded because they neglected to claim their funds by filing a tax return. 

 

Louisiana residents receive unclaimed property checks

On March 19, 2019, several Louisiana news outlets reported on 44,000 residents receiving checks totaling $4.2 million from the state. The surprise payments represent returned unclaimed property resulting from 2018 legislation allowing the state Treasury and Department of Revenue to cross-reference information for the sole purpose of returning unclaimed property. An October 2018 mailing include 85,000 checks totaling $15 million. 

 

Don’t Mickey Mouse around with recovered unclaimed funds

On Feb. 20, 2019, ABC 12 reported on Genesee County (Michigan) County Clerk John Gleason’s unusual press conference regarding the use of recovered unclaimed property. Dressed in a (rather sad excuse for a) Mickey Mouse costume, Gleason expressed dismay over the authorization by the county commissioners to use funds returned to the county by the state to send three employees to Orlando, Florida, for five days of leadership, engagement and customer service training. 

Tags:  IRS  Louisiana  Michigan  taxes  unclaimed property 

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UPPO Advocacy Update: April 2019

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 10, 2019

To help members remain aware of UPPO’s advocacy activities, the Unclaimed Property Focus blog presents the recurring Advocacy Update when legislatures are active or significant advocacy activity has occurred. Following are recent activities and trends from UPPO’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee (GRAC).

 

Industry Groups, Including UPPO, Submit Joint Comments Regarding Minnesota RUUPA Bills

On March 31, 2019, UPPO along with organizations representing life insurers, bankers, shareholder services professionals and transfer agents submitted a letter regarding RUUPA-inspired legislation to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The coalition raised several concerns with Article 13 of H.F. 2208 and companion bill S.B. 2611. Learn more.

 

The language from H.F. 2208 has since been amended to a different House bill, H.F. 2538. 

 

More RUUPA-Inspired Bills on the Move

In Colorado, S.B. 88 was introduced in January. The RUUPA-inspired bill includes the reduction of some established state dormancy periods and retains some Colorado-specific sections from the current version of state’s unclaimed property statute. The Colorado Senate passed the bill in February and sent it to the House, where it passed with amendments. On March 26, the senate concurred with the House amendments and repassed the legislation. 

 

In Washington, D.C., B. 225 was introduced on March 27. The RUUPA-inspired bill has been assigned to the Finance and Revenue Committee for review. 

 

California Report Makes a Case for Amnesty

On March 20, 2019, the Sacramento Bee published an article discussing the estimated $24 billion in unreported unclaimed property in California. According to the article, only 2 percent of unclaimed property holders reported to the state in 2016, leaving more than a million businesses out of compliance with the state’s unclaimed property laws. 

 

The state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office recommended in a March 15 report, Increasing Compliance with Unclaimed Property Law, that the state implement “a one-time amnesty for holders who voluntarily report past‑due unclaimed property by temporarily waiving the penalty associated with delinquent reports.”

 

UPPO supports adoption of a voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) program in California and recently registered as a lobbyist in the state to promote VDA legislation on behalf of its members.

 

Hawaii Bill Proposes Changes to Handling of Low Value Property

In the Hawaiian legislature, H.B. 1130 was introduced on Jan. 24, proposing a minor language change that could have a significant effect for Hawaiian residents. If enacted, unclaimed property valued under $100 would be transferred directly to the state’s general fund, and the unclaimed property administrator would be exempted from having to advertise such property. 

 

Currently, Hawaii escheats amounts of less than $100 to the general fund, but only after it has remained unclaimed for 10 years. 

   

Arkansas Adopts Law Calling for Immediate Liquidation of Securities

On March 15, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed H.B. 1427 into law. The bill allows the state unclaimed property administrator to sell securities upon receipt from holders. It states that a claimant to such securities may receive the securities if they remain in the custody of the administrator, or alternately may receive proceeds received from the sale of the securities, less any fees and expenses incurred from the sale. 

 

This legislation conflicts with the consumer protection intent of unclaimed property programs, as it prevents property holders from being able to take steps to recover the full value of their shares and creates irreversible tax consequences. It also raises constitutional issues addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Taylor v. Yee decision regarding due process. 

 

GAO Calls for Clarity Regarding Unclaimed 401(k) Plan Tax Treatment

On Feb. 19, 2019, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a 59-page report calling on the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Treasury and Department of Labor to provide clarity regarding the tax treatment of unclaimed 401(k) plans transferred to states. Learn more.

 

As more and more legislatures and regulatory agencies take on issues affecting unclaimed property compliance, advocacy has become an increasingly important role for UPPO.

Please take a few minutes to complete our 
Government Relations and Advocacy Survey to help us build our grassroots network. Responses will give us the ability to mobilize UPPO members when we are faced with legislative and regulatory challenges and opportunities.

 

Tags:  401(k)  Arkansas  California  GAO  Hawaii  Minnesota  Washington D.C. 

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UPPO Annual Conference Wrap-up

Posted By Tim Dressen, UPPO, Thursday, April 4, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Nearly 700 unclaimed property professionals gathered in New Orleans on March 24 – 27 for UPPO’s 2019 Annual Conference. Attendees enjoyed a multitude of networking opportunities, special events and educational sessions. 

 

Educational Sessions

The foundation of the UPPO Annual Conference is its strong educational lineup. This year’s event included four educational tracks, providing basic, intermediate and advanced sessions along with industry-specific workshops. The session agenda included all of today’s hot topics in unclaimed property.

 

Attendees also participated in industry-specific breakout sessions, heard from state administrators and got insight into unclaimed property compliance litigation through the Mock Trial session.  

 

Association Initiatives

2018/19 UPPO President Marilyn Henry provided attendees with an update on the association’s recent work and special initiatives. During the year, the board of directors undertook a review of the association’s management company, putting the contract out for bids and evaluating association management services before renewing with Forius. 

 

The board also reviewed the organization’s investment portfolio, putting out an RFP for investment services. After reviewing proposals and conducting a thorough analysis, the Finance Committee recommended to the board that UPPO maintain its relationship with RBC. 

 

The board also updated the UPPO strategic plan, which would be discussed in detail by 2019/20 President Troy Wangen during his presentation.

 

Henry also provided updates on the introduction of the certificate program’s intermediate tier, expanded industry focus conference calls and ever-important advocacy efforts.

 

“As we carried out these initiatives, UPPO continued building on our education, advocacy and membership work,” Henry said. “We introduced the intermediate tier of our fantastic certificate program. We established priority issue workgroups to help us more efficiently respond to legislative and regulatory challenges and opportunities. And we continued to improve our membership benefits with the expansion of our industry-focus conference calls.”

 

2019/20 Board of Directors

Henry thanked members of the 2018/19 UPPO Board of Directors for their service and recognized departing board members Carla McGlynn for her years of leadership. She then turned the gavel over to 2019/20 President Troy Wangen as McGlynn installed the new board:

  • President Troy Wangen
  • First Vice President Heather Steffans 
  • Second Vice President Karen Anderson
  • Treasurer Chris Jensen
  • Secretary Jennifer Waryjas
  • Midwestern Vice President Becky Stephens
  • Eastern Vice President Mike Ryan
  • Southern Vice President Michelle Graf
  • Western Vice President Evi Magnusson
  • Immediate Past President Marilyn Henry

 

Upon his installation as president, Wangen discussed the association’s goals for the coming year and beyond, highlighting the areas of focus from the 2019-22 Strategic Plan – advocacy, public perception, state relations and education.

 

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Wangen said. “Fortunately, this room is filled with passionate, talented professionals who consistently step up to share that passion and talent for the greater good of our organization. I am excited to begin this year as your UPPO president and I look forward to the progress we’ll make together.”

 

UPPO Scholarship

Each year at the Annual Convention, the association announces the winner of the UPPO Scholarship. To foster an environment of continuing education, UPPO established its scholarship program to financially assist members and their children who wish to continue their education in college or vocational school programs. This year’s recipients are Cayla Julius, daughter of UPPO member Cherie Julius; and Lydia Rudden, daughter of UPPO member Fritz Rudden. 

 

Attendees wishing to support the UPPO Scholarship Program participated in a French Quarter Walking Tour and bid on items donated for the first Scholarship Program Silent Auction, held during the conference. 

 

Sponsors and Exhibitors

The UPPO Annual Conference would not be possible without the support of sponsors and exhibitors. Thank you to all of the vendors who helped make this year’s event a success. 

 

Sponsors

  • Alston & Bird LLP
  • Altus Group US Inc.
  • Barganier and Associates LLC
  • Boomerang Asset Recovery LLC
  • Crowe LLP
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • Eversheds Sutherland
  • Grant Thronton LLP
  • JMS Advisory Group LLC
  • Keane
  • KPMG LLP
  • MarketSphere Unclaimed Property Specialists
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • Morris Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • RSM US LLP
  • Ryan LLC
  • True Partners Consulting 
  • WNGATES.com Inc.

 

Exhibitors

  • Altus Group US Inc.
  • Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP
  • Boomerang Asset Recovery LLC
  • Crowe LLP
  • DataTree by First American
  • DuCharme, McMillen & Associates Inc.
  • Duff & Phelps
  • Dunbar
  • Eagle Technology Management Inc.
  • Financial Software Innovations Inc.
  • Georgeson LLC
  • JMS Advisorry Group LLC
  • Keane
  • KPMG LLP
  • Linking Assets Inc.
  • MarketSphere Unclaimed Property Specialists
  • Navigant
  • New York Post
  • NY Daily News
  • Phoenix Finders Group
  • Reed Smith LLP
  • Ryan LLC
  • Trintech Inc.
  • True Partners Consulting LLC

 

Mark Your Calendar

Thank you to attendees, speakers and members who helped plan this year’s conference, without whom it could not have been such a success. Plan to join us next year in Tucson, Arizona, on March 29 – April 1 for the 2020 UPPO Annual Conference. Planning is already underway, and it’s sure to be another spectacular event. 

 

Want to get more out of your conference experience or learn more about what you missed? Join us for a free member webinar at 1 p.m. EDT on April 17, featuring conference speakers sharing their experience and what they took away from the event. 

 

 

Tags:  education  unclaimed property  UPPO Annual Conference 

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UPPO Honors 2018/19 Award Winners

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Each year during the Annual Conference, UPPO recognizes the hard work and dedication of association members whose efforts contributed to the success of UPPO and the unclaimed property profession throughout the past year. They deserve recognition and appreciation for their hard work, leadership, teamwork and passion. 

 

Members’ Choice Awards

With the Members’ Choice Awards, UPPO recognizes specific state administrators and unclaimed property programs for their excellence. UPPO members nominate candidates and choose the winners from the subsequent slate of nominees. Congratulations to this year’s recipients: 

  • Website Award: Pennsylvania’s website is user-friendly with all of the necessary compliance information and forms clearly labeled and easily located. 
  • Above and Beyond Award: Allen Mayer, chief of staff to Treasurer Frerichs of Illinois,  devoted many hours to our unclaimed property team over the phone explaining the nuances and intent of Illinois’ RUUPA. He also kept us updated on legislative and technical correction activity in the state.
  • Overall Excellence Award: Louisiana allows all holder types to be filed simultaneously; allows optional, user-friendly online reporting; offers an informal VDA process with consideration for waiving penalties and interest; and does not require negative reports or report notarization.
  • Industry Advocacy Partnership Award: Pennsylvania Department of Labor receives this award for renewed enforcement efforts regarding lost pension plan participants.
  • State Legislative Award: Pennsylvania implemented a change to its unclaimed property policy regarding securities, which was clarified through legislation. The change allowed the state to ensure that shareholders would not lose the benefit of their investments through escheatment as a result of mere inactivity. Rather, Pennsylvania implemented an RPO requirement prior to accepting transfer of shares.  

 

Awards of Merit

This award is given to member organizations that have provided exceptional support to UPPO during the past years. During the past year, UPPO has been working to introduce legislation to establish a VDA program in the state of California. Two member companies have led our efforts, and their work has earned them this year’s Award of Merit. Receiving the award at the conference were the representatives from those companies who worked so hard on this project: For True Partners Consulting, Cathleen Bucholtz, and for Alston & Bird, Kendall Houghton.

 

Team Player Awards

This award is presented to volunteers who serve on committees, work diligently on projects that advance the work of their committees and help pull the team together to accomplish their goals. This year’s recipients include:

  • Tom Powers, a GRAC work group leader who has really stepped forward this year to offer his knowledge and expertise in the area of banking and finance. Not only has Tom worked directly with UPPO, but he has also become an active member of the Holders Coalition. He has regularly stepped forward to assist in analyzing proposed legislation and to educate other members. He has also agreed to step up even more this next year and will co-chair GRAC.
  • Ann Fulmer, a co-chair of the on-demand webinar subcommittee. This was a challenging year for the group, and her leadership skills were instrumental in taking on those challenges. Charged with developing content for two intermediate certificate program webinars, the group found that developing content was more involved than it has been for basic tier webinars. Ann kept the project on task, despite the roadblocks.  
  • Sonja Roman-Molina, co-chair of UPPO’s Member Services Committee. As a leader of multiple work groups for this committee, she has played an instrumental role in projects that increase member value. She also conducts member retention calls to help our membership thrive.

 

Shining Star Awards

Seven UPPO members received Shining Star honors for their “shining brightly to help guide the way.” This year’s Shining Stars are:

  • David Knott, co-chair of the Claimants Representative Committee
  • Jim Harris, co-chair of the Claimants Representative Committee
  • Randy Hotz, member of the Claimants Representative Committee
  • Dana Terry, member of GRAC and the Holders Coalition work group addressing the IRS ruling regarding IRAs
  • Jen Borden, member of GRAC and the Holders Coalition work group addressing the IRS ruling regarding IRAs
  • Pam Wentz, co-chair of the Leadership Development and Nominating Committees
  • Michelle Andre, co-chair of the Government Relations and Advocacy Committee
  • Sonia Walwyn, co-chair of the Ethics Committee
  • Nora O’Connor, chair of the Bylaws Committee

 

President’s Award

This award, chosen by the association’s president, honors a member who has taken on a huge task or project that will help change or improve the unclaimed property profession for years to come.  

 

The first recipient, Robert Joseph has served UPPO for many years on the Conference and Seminar Committee volunteering countless hours in helping to develop programming for the annual conference, reviewed many presentations, helped to select great speakers, and numerous other projects. Although he is stepping off of the Conference and Seminar Committee, he has accepted a new assignment as co-chair of the Leadership Development Committee. 

 

The second recipient, Carla McGlynn has served UPPO for many years, most recently serving on the board of directors. As a member of the UPPO Board, serving through the chairs to her current role as Immediate Past President, she has demonstrated great leadership skills and has clearly helped to advance UPPO’s mission.

 

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners for their selfless dedication and commitment to their association and profession. 

 

 

Tags:  awards  unclaimed property  UPPO Annual Conference 

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