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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 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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Serving on the UPPO Board Opens Doors

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 19, 2017

Serving on the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization Board of Directors opens doors to new experiences, connections and opportunities. It offers the chance for members to influence the priorities of the organization and give back to others in their profession. 


UPPO is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 board election. Four positions – second vice president, secretary, Eastern vice president and Midwestern vice president – are open for nominations by Nov. 20. 


“I strongly encourage interested members to run,” said Heather Steffans, UPPO’s Midwestern vice president. “Serving on the board greatly enhances your involvement with the organization. You make connections with many more individuals across the organization, and increase your awareness of what’s happening in the industry. It allows you to provide feedback and ideas on how we can advance the organization’s three-pronged mission of advocacy, membership growth and education. I am continually amazed at the fantastic volunteer efforts that members put into the committees; seeing it first-hand participating as a board liaison. The discussions that occur during the committee and board meetings are efficient and productive.”


Serving on the board offers many benefits. As a board member, you can:

  • Lead your profession: Demonstrate and share your skills as a leader and influencer in the unclaimed property profession. 
  • Help guide your organization: Play an essential role in the setting the direction the organization will take. Represent fellow members, ensuring their voices are heard. 
  • Give back: Many UPPO members credit their active participation in the association as a key factor for their professional development, network depth and career growth. Serving on a board is a way to give back to the organization. 
  • Gain 501(c)(6) nonprofit experience: Expand your skills in and knowledge of a nonprofit organization’s operations. 
  • Grow your network: Board members develop new and deeper relationships with fellow directors and association members.
  • Expand your resume: Whether you desire to move up your current company or anticipate seeking new opportunities elsewhere, board experience demonstrates your leadership skills and involvement beyond the workplace. 
  • New expertise: As a board member, you’ll gain greater insight into the unclaimed property world and experience with issues you may not otherwise encounter.

Board members are often surprised by how rewarding their participation is – and by how many ways their dedicated time and energy pay off. 


“Overall, it’s been a great experience,” said Michelle Graf, UPPO’s Southern vice president. “I’ve learned a lot about the in-depth issues within UPPO and the unclaimed property arena. It also opens the door to new personal and professional connections. Serving on the board is unlike anything I’ve done before.”


Consider sharing your ideas, talents and skills by applying to become a board member today, or nominate a fellow UPPO member by Nov. 20, 2017. Learn more


Tags:  board of directors  election  nominations  UPPO 

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UPPO members play an essential role in growing membership

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 12, 2017

The value of a professional organization like UPPO comes from strength in numbers. As membership grows, more knowledgeable individuals share their experiences and work to tackle common issues. So, it makes sense that recruiting new members is viewed as an essential, unending task for the organization.


Potential members often learn about UPPO from current members who are eager to spread the word about the organization’s benefits.


“The best individuals to sell the value that UPPO delivers are the members who have experienced it themselves,” said Chris Jensen, director of abandoned and unclaimed property compliance for Ryan. “Members can provide real-life examples about how they rely on other members to get questions answered or to come up with ideas to improve processes.”


When speaking with potential members, Jensen often touts three specific areas where UPPO shines:

  • Education: Webinars and the annual conference provide high quality education for professionals at all levels of experience.
  • Networking: Unclaimed property is such a niche profession that only those who are involved in it fully understand it. The ability to tap into that group’s knowledge is invaluable.
  • Advocacy: More than ever, holders and service providers need a voice fighting for them. Increasingly, UPPO gives them that voice.

James Santivanez, president and co-founder of JMS Advisory Group, believes encouraging client holders to become members builds greater trust.


“When our clients talk to other holders in their specific industry, they quickly learn that our advice and counsel is substantive and in line with what they’re learning,” he said. “That validation builds confidence and trust. If you have interested and engaged clients, you want them to be educated and to build their own knowledge base.”


Some of the other benefits that often resonate with potential members include tools and resources available on the UPPO website, including the Jurisdiction Resource Guide; and legislative and regulatory tracking via govWATCH.


“Any organization is going to be more valuable with as many intelligent inputs as you can gather,” Santivanez said. “It’s such an inclusive organization, whether you want to get involved in leadership, volunteer for committees, or just show up and quietly learn.”


As a token of appreciate for members who refer new members and to encourage member references, UPPO thanks recruiting members with a $100 gift card. To learn more about UPPO’s Membership Recruitment Program, access a digital version of the UPPO member packet or request printed copies, visit UPPO’s member referral web page.



Tags:  advocacy  education  membership  networking  recruitment  UPPO 

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UPPO Claimants Representative Committee Outlines Top Priority

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 5, 2017

In addition to their responsibilities of reporting unclaimed property to the states, many of the professionals who are active UPPO members are also responsible for recovering unclaimed property on behalf of their companies and their clients. To address the needs of these members related to property recovery, UPPO formed the Claimants Representative Committee.


Within the world of unclaimed property recovery, a small number of bad actors have unfairly tarnished the reputation of the industry as a whole. Through the Claimants Representative Committee, UPPO seeks to address these reputational issues, create best practices and promote professionalism. Over the next several months, the committee will primarily focus on these efforts.


We believe collaboration between UPPO and state unclaimed property administrators would contribute to this initiative’s success. We all have a common objective—returning property to its rightful owners. We believe the environment for achieving this objective can be improved, and it makes sense to work together. For this reason, two state administrators serve on the Claimants Representative Committee as ex officio members. Their input and effort will continue to be invaluable to the committee’s work.


UPPO is reaching out to NAUPA regarding this initiative to request the organization’s support as we work to develop meaningful standards to address reputational issues affecting claimants’ representatives.


The committee is also tasked with addressing challenges faced by claimants’ representatives as they seek to assist consumers and companies with the recovery of their unclaimed property. During and after the 2017 UPPO Annual Conference, the Claimants Representative Committee gathered feedback from attendees and committee members concerning policies and procedures that cause impediments to the recovery of unclaimed property.


“The members of the Claimants Representative Committee have collected important data through their own handling of large volumes of claims on an annual basis; through public information requests from state administrators; and through input from UPPO members,” said Claimants Representative Committee Co-Chair Jim Harris.


The committee has spent the past several months refining the information into a list of priorities to address after tackling the reputational issues.    


“It is our goal to gain support for addressing these priorities in hopes of improving the recovery process and return rates for consumers coast to coast,” said Claimants Representative Committee Co-Chair David Knott. “The committee looks forward to working with the UPPO Board of Directors, the UPPO Government Relations and Advocacy Committee and state unclaimed property administrators to solve some of these impediments to higher return rates.”


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Providing Opportunity Through UPPO’s Scholarship Program

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 26, 2017

For the past several years, the UPPO Scholarship Program has provided several association members and their dependents with financial assistance as they pursue their higher education. The program began in 2013 with an annual, renewable $1,000 scholarship to one recipient and has since been expanded, offering two awards per year, beginning earlier this year.


It’s no secret that the cost of attending college has skyrocketed, and many students depend on scholarships to have the ability to focus on their studies and earn a degree.


“As I go through dental school, it’s a huge investment, which carries a very large tuition burden,” said 2017 UPPO scholarship recipient Taylor Steffans. “This scholarship helps reduce that burden, allowing me to have less stress about finances and focus on my studies rather than having to potentially work more on the weekends. I want to put all of my effort into becoming the best dentist I can be.”


The program has made a significant difference for six students and their families in just five short years.


“The scholarship has really opened a lot of doors for me to explore the interests I can pursue and build on what I can do in the future,” said 2016 recipient Charles Julius. “That opportunity is really important to help me move forward with my education.”



The UPPO Scholarship Program is available to:

  • Full-time UPPO member employees who are not eligible for tuition reimbursement by the member company.
  • UPPO member employees’ dependent children, age 25 and under, who are high school seniors or graduates, or current post-secondary undergraduates or graduate students.

Applicants must be planning to pursue post-high-school studies, including undergraduate or graduate programs at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university, vocational-technical school or graduate school for the entire upcoming academic year. See the program rules for complete details.


The 2018 UPPO Scholarship Program is accepting applications through Dec. 15, 2017.


Funding the scholarship

The UPPO Scholarship Program is funded through a combination of opportunities for members and their companies to support its mission:

Thank you to all of the individual and corporate UPPO members who have contributed to this valuable program over the past five years. With your continued support, the UPPO Scholarship Program will continue to provide opportunities and to give back to association members.


Tags:  annual conference  scholarship 

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Unclaimed Property News Roundup

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 21, 2017

Unclaimed property has been in the headlines lately with a variety of stories appearing in local and national media outlets. Following is a recap of some of the most noteworthy reports.


Delaware’s pro-business image slides, in part from aggressive unclaimed property enforcement

On Sept. 11, 2017, Delaware Online published an article about a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study that dropped Delaware from the top state for business litigation to 11th. Among the reasons noted was the state’s aggressive enforcement of unclaimed property laws.


Unclaimed property takes center stage in Louisiana treasurer election

On Sept. 9, The Advocate published a lengthy article discussing how Louisiana’s former treasurer and current senator John Kennedy raised the profile of unclaimed property in the state. As a result, candidates for the upcoming treasurer election have made unclaimed property central to their campaign platforms.


Even celebrities appear on state unclaimed property lists

Reports in numerous media outlets, including WCVB TV, in the past few weeks have reported on members of pop group New Kids on the Block appearing on the Massachusetts unclaimed property list. Although celebrity unclaimed property reports are often a little hokey, they receive a lot of media and online attention, raising awareness of unclaimed property nationwide.


Texas unclaimed property rule changes receive coverage

On Aug. 30, Ignites, a Financial Times company, published an article discussing Texas unclaimed property rules that subsequently went into effect on Sept. 1. Commenting on behalf of UPPO, Kendall Houghton addressed the new Texas Designation of Representative form: “While there appears to be a maintenance requirement, there doesn’t appear to be a record retention period established through the form or, to my knowledge, by the comptroller’s office.”


Wall Street Journal looks at the JLI Invest unclaimed property case against Delaware

On Aug. 18, The Wall Street Journal published an article about the lawsuit brought by two French scientists against Delaware for seizing and selling their stock, considered by Delaware as unclaimed property. The value of the stock increased significantly after Delaware sold it but before the scientists learned their stock had been seized, causing them to lose millions of dollars, according to their complaint. The author of the WSJ article subsequently appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, discussing the article and the issues raised by the JLI case.


Bloomberg looks at issues with Delaware’s proposed unclaimed property rules

On Aug 14, Bloomberg BNA’s Salt Talk Blog published an article about Delaware’s work to develop new unclaimed property rules, required by S.B. 13. The article notes that many of the issues raised after Delaware released its previous version of the proposed rules remain present in the new version.


Tags:  Delaware  Louisiana  Texas  unclaimed property 

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