On May 16, 2018 Georgeson's unclaimed property consulting team hosted a regional unclaimed property forum in Houston, Texas. Cindy Nisley, President of Georgeson LLC, kicked off the forum with a warm welcome to the room full of people looking forward to three and half hours of unclaimed property education. Those in the audience represented multiple industries and had varied levels of experience.
The first presenter was special guest and unclaimed property specialist; Valerie Jundt. Valerie level set the room by sharing an informative presentation on the unclaimed property basics. The presentation was most helpful to the newcomers but also served as a good review for those with more experience.
Mike Ryan, SVP, Business Development at Georgeson, took the reins from Valerie to talk about unclaimed property reporting. His presentation included the elements of a successful compliance program, and walked through an example of an annual unclaimed property reporting schedule and highlighted common error and commissions that holders should avoid.
Mike then partnered with Pam Wentz, National Practice Leader of Georgeson's unclaimed property consulting practice to provide audit updates and talk about voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) options. In addition to current audit trends, the presentation on audit updates covered state enforcement efforts, the risks associated with unclaimed property audits and how to be proactive if selected for an audit. The audit update covered the pros and cons of VDAs and what should be considered before applying for a VDA. They also covered the unique Delaware VDA requirements and reminded attendees to consider options quickly if they receive an invitation to sign up for a Delaware VDA.
Georgeson's second special guest; Rob Martin, Unclaimed Property and Compliance Manager with Invesco Services presented with Dana Terry, Unclaimed Property Consulting Director at Georgeson, to discuss best practices. The presentation included the importance of being proactive and provided practical guidance on keeping in contact with owners. Some of the key takeaways from this session were:
- Reach out to customers early – before the abandonment period has expired
- Reach out to customers often – utilize more than one method for outreach
- Document all types of customer contact and tract activity correctly
Dana also filled in for the Texas Comptroller's office, which administers the Texas unclaimed property program which started in 1963. It is a well-established program that returned over $275 million to owners in fiscal year 2017.
In addition to the Texas specific reporting requirements, attendees were also very interested in the special requirements specific to their industries. The forum covered special requirements and unique issues that are encountered by the oil & gas, life insurance and securities industries. It also included special considerations for general ledger property types and third party administrators (TPAs).
The last session was followed by Q&A. All of those in attendance received a Georgeson Unclaimed Property Calendar to serve a useful reporting resource.
For more information about Georgeson's Unclaimed Property roadshow, please visit www.georgeson-na.com/roadshow