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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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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 Tim Dressen, UPPO, Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, May 1, 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
  • Nancy Kovala, 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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Attending the UPPO Annual Conference? Explore New Orleans

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 14, 2019

This year’s UPPO Annual Conference will take place in one of America’s most interesting cities, New Orleans. With its rich mix of history, culture and entertainment, New Orleans is sure to provide attendees who take some time to see the sights with an unforgettable experience.   

 

Restaurants

New Orleans has earned its reputation as one of the nation’s greatest dining destinations. Commander’s Palace, the legendary restaurant where celebrity chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse began their careers, offers legendary Creole fare. Parkway Bakery and Tavern has been serving classic po’ boy sandwiches for more than 100 years, winning awards and making countless best restaurant lists. One of the city’s most popular Latin restaurants, Maïs Arepas serves some of the best Colombian food in the Southeast. Willie Mae’s Scotch House takes southern soul food to another level with its fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, fried okra and cornbread. If you crave a classic Cajun seafood boil, check out Boil Seafood House for heaping servings of crab, shrimp, clams and more. 

 

French Quarter

No visit to New Orleans would be complete without visiting the French Quarter. Packed with history, culture and nightlife, this neighborhood is where the party begins but never seems to end. Lined with 13 blocks of bars, restaurants and clubs, Bourbon Street is the heart of the neighborhood. However, there’s plenty to see beyond Bourbon Street. Overlooking Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in America and one of the city’s most architecturally stunning landmarks. The 1850 House museum takes visitors back in time to a middle-class home during the city’s most prosperous era. For a different, darker side of the city, the Voodoo Museum explains why voodoo plays such an integral role in the history of New Orleans.    

 

Beyond the French Quarter

If you have time to venture beyond the tourist-centric French Quarter, New Orleans has plenty to see. Magazine Street is a six-mile stretch of independent shops, galleries and restaurants that offers a less chaotic, more charming side of New Orleans. The Garden District is home to historical homes, beautiful architecture and one of the city’s oldest cemeteries. American history buffs can delve into one of the nation’s most interesting eras at The National WWII Museum in the Warehouse District. Visitors can take in the natural wonder of Louisiana’s bayou at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, the sight of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 and home to more than a few alligators. 

 

Enjoy your time in New Orleans!

Tags:  UPPO annual conference 

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New Tennessee Administrative Rules go into Effect

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 7, 2019

On March 4, 2019, new administrative rules regarding unclaimed property went into effect. The rules are the latest in a series of updates to the state’s unclaimed property laws and practices, which also include the passage of H.B. 420, the state’s version of the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, and H.B. 2278, which changed the state’s unclaimed property reporting date from May 1 to Nov. 1. 

 

Noteworthy sections of the rules for holders include:

 

Reporting

  • Electronic reporting is required.
  • Negative reports may be filed. 
  • Reported cashier’s checks must include the name and address of the payee and purchaser, if known.
  • When filing initial safe deposit box reports, property should continue to be held for an additional year before filing a final report and turning over the property to the state.

 

Property Delivery

  • Most property should be remitted electronically via ACH or other method approved by the treasurer. 

 

Securities

  • Remitted securities shall include all dividends, interest, warrants or other rights, or associated cash payable by check or electronically.
  • Holders shall remit securities in such a form that future earnings will be delivered in cash rather than an increase in the number of shares. 
  • Holders shall remit securities in a form that allows the treasurer to sell them. 

 

Examinations

  • Holders will receive a notice of examination at least 30 days before an examination begins.
  • An examination will begin with an entrance conference at which time the examiner will identify other states participating; a tentative timeline and duration; a description of responsibilities; the potential types of records subject to examination; the lookback period; and an explanation of methods and estimation techniques that may be used.
  • An examination may include records of current accounts, dormant accounts and accounts that may have been closed and archived; agreements regarding the deduction of service charges; increases or decreases in account value; and interest payments; and policies and procedures.
  • If records are unavailable, estimation of liability may be used. The examiner will provide written notice of the estimation methodology and for which years. The examination subject may object to the estimation methodology by following the process defined by state law. 

 

Due Diligence

  • Holders are expected to conduct due diligence.
  • The return of first-class or superior mailing sent to the owner’s last-known address is considered evidence that the owner’s location cannot be ascertained. 
  • First-class or superior mailings that are not returned as “undeliverable” are considered owner contact and an indication of interest in the property. Examples include computerized account  or interest earning statements. 

 

Holders with unclaimed property reportable to Tennessee can access the new rules, related Tennessee laws and regulations, and additional compliance information on the state’s Treasury Department website.  

Tags:  audits  due diligence  examinations  reporting  securities  spring reporting  Tennessee 

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GAO Report Spotlights Unclaimed 401(k) Plan Tax Treatment Uncertainty

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 27, 2019

In May 2018, the Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Ruling 2018-17, stating that IRA holders must withhold 10 percent federal income tax and issue form 1099Rs when reporting unclaimed IRAs to the states. The deadline for doing so was originally set at Jan. 1, 2019, but was later extended to Jan. 1, 2020. 

 

In February 2019, the tax treatment of unclaimed retirement accounts was in the spotlight again, but this time the accounts at issue were 401(k) accounts. The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a 59-page report, Federal Action Needed to Clarify Tax Treatment of Unclaimed 401(k) Plan Savings Transferred to States. 

 

Based on information learned, in part, by surveying the states, IRA transfer agents and 401(k) plan service providers, the GAO reached several conclusions:

  • Although the IRS and Department of Labor have issued guidance on transferring retirement savings to states, the IRS has not clarified certain responsibilities or ensured that the retirement savings that owners claim from states can be rolled over into other tax-deferred retirement accounts. 
  • The IRS has not specified whether 401(k) plan providers should report state transfers as distributions and withhold federal income taxes. 
  • 401(k) plan provider practices vary. Some providers withhold taxes when transferring savings to states while others do not. This makes the IRS less likely to collect federal income taxes that may be due if transfers are taxable events. 
  • The IRS has not taken action to ensure that individuals who claim 401(k) savings from a state can roll over these savings to other tax-deferred retirement accounts. The IRS allows individuals to roll over savings after 60 days for several reasons, none of which include claiming 401(k) savings from a state. Account owners who are unable to roll over their reclaimed savings forgo the opportunity to continue investing the funds on a tax-deferred basis. 

 

The report includes three recommendations:

  1. The IRS Commissioner should work with the Department of the Treasury to consider clarifying whether transfers of unclaimed savings from employer-based plans (such as 401(k) plans) to states are distributions; what, if any, tax reporting and withholding requirements apply; and when they apply. 
  2. The IRS Commissioner should work with the Department of the Treasury to consider adding retirement savings transferred to states from terminating defined contribution plans to the list of permitted reasons for rolling over savings after the 60-day rollover period, in a form consistent with the rules adopted on the taxation of transfers of unclaimed retirement savings. 
  3. The Secretary of Labor should specify the circumstances, if any, under which uncashed distribution checks from active plans can be transferred to the states. 

 

The IRS and DOL are not obligated to respond to the GAO’s recommendations, so specific action resulting from the report remains uncertain.

 

Read the full GAO report

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