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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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UPPO Asks: What are the most important personality traits for an unclaimed property professional? 

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 15, 2017
Periodically, UPPO asks members to respond to a question, sharing their ideas, insights, and experience. The recurring UPPO Asks feature is a compilation of their responses.

 

We recently asked several members: What are the most important personality traits for an unclaimed property professional to have? 

 

“The most important personality traits are patience, good organizational skills and attention to detail.”—Martina Bantham, financial analyst, State Farm Federal Credit Union

 

“I look for people who have at least a basic understanding of unclaimed property, are organized (to manage volumes of data), are patient (helps with obtaining information needed from stakeholders or responses from states) and detail-oriented (to manage the complexities of varying state requirements).”Janeá D. Matchett, unclaimed property program director, Cox Enterprises Inc. 

 

“I believe that the most important personality traits for an unclaimed property professional to have are: ambitious/motivated, decisive, determined, involved, reliable, persistent and interested.”Krystal Greiten, supervisor – unclaimed property, Occidental Petroleum Corp.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you think are the most important personality traits for an unclaimed property professional? Add a comment to this post to share your response.

 

Tags:  hiring  unclaimed property  UPPO Asks 

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UPPO Asks: How Do You Train Someone New to Unclaimed Property?

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 17, 2017

Periodically, UPPO asks members to respond to a question, sharing their ideas, insights, and experience. The recurring UPPO Asks feature is a compilation of their responses.

 

We recently asked several members: How do you train someone new to unclaimed property? 

 

“We basically walk through the overall process with the employee and familiarize them with the software that we use for compliance. The first year, the process is handled with me as manager, and each time a task comes up, I will share with the employee. The next time another state becomes due, I will allow the employee to process the task on their own, but I always check the work before any mailings or filings have occurred. Once we get to the October filing states, I will relieve the employee of most of the other job duties to allow for the large volume. As states are completed, I will check the work again for accuracy and go through any corrections with the employee. Since I am the manager of the department, I will contact the CFO to sign all the required reports and obtain the notary acknowledgement, and pass back to the employee to complete the mailing.

 

“Then, we relax for a couple of months and start all over again! The second year, I place more responsibility on the employee to complete the tasks, but I always check the work before any reports are released or filed.”—Sherri Moll, unclaimed property manager, CountryMark

 

 

“Over the years, I have developed a comprehensive training guide for new staff that encompasses three areas of knowledge: background of unclaimed property laws, the services we offer clients and value added, and technical skills required of the position. Being a service provider, I believe the depth of training is much more involved, as practitioners require a greater understanding of the nuances involved across industries. I also encourage unclaimed property case studies and schedule a follow-up training shortly thereafter (two to four weeks) and recap the highlights discussed. As with anything, repetition is key.”—Christopher Jensen, director of abandoned and unclaimed property compliance, Ryan

 

 

“Our Unclaimed Property department is actually split into two: the Daily group and the Compliance group. The Daily group processes customer requested refunds and auto refunds in a proactive attempt to keep records clean and prevent unclaimed property. Our Compliance group handles state reporting. Training is slightly different for each group. 

“The Daily group is given an overview on our accounts receivable, cash applications and credit department processes. The group is trained on the transaction codes they will see in the system and how to handle a credit based on the customer's overall account. They are provided with criteria that credits need to meet for processing an auto refund and criteria that customer requested refunds also need to meet. They are given a high-level explanation of the compliance processes. 

“The compliance group is trained on the transaction codes they see in customers AR history in the system and how to handle a credit based on the customer's overall account. The group has a template that is used for all state reports to ensure the detail is consistent, researchable and accurate. The template also assists with accounting comparisons and tracking all other property types that fall into unclaimed property dormancy. The compliance analysts attend webinars to stay up to date with best practices and the ever-changing legislation. 

“Both sides of our UP department have SOPs and checklists to reference as they go through processes and procedures. These are updated regularly.”—Tiffany Kevek, unclaimed property supervisor, Uline

 

Now it’s your turn. How to you train some new to unclaimed property? Add a comment to this post to share your response.

 

Tags:  training  unclaimed property  UPPO Asks 

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UPPO Asks: How Do You Explain Unclaimed Property to Your Family?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 10, 2016

Periodically, UPPO asks members to respond to a question, sharing their ideas, insights, and experience. The recurring UPPO Asks feature is a compilation of their responses.

 

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, you may be prepping for the inevitable awkward silences or being ready to swiftly transition conversation to something less divisive. So we recently asked several members: How do you explain unclaimed property to your family?

 

“I usually talk about those gift cards lying around in drawers, the credit for returned merchandise never applied to another purchase, or the summer paycheck that never went cashed. I tell them states require companies to send over that property after a certain period of time, and they have hired private firms to go around auditing companies to see if they have any property like that on their books. I represent the companies to ensure that what they pay over to the state truly is unclaimed property that is required to be reported, and not other amounts that the company is entitled to keep.”—Sara Lima, partner, Reed Smith

 

“I usually say something like this: ‘When we write a check to someone, if they don’t cash it, we have to send it to the state. That’s what I do.’ If they still appear somewhat interested, I’ll elaborate to say, ‘It gets complicated because the states all have different requirements and due dates so I have to keep track of them all which is a pretty big task.’”—Sherry Arkfeld, staff specialist/unclaimed property, Consolidated Communications

 

 

“I generally explain the concept of unclaimed property to friends and family using examples that they can relate to—unused gift cards or uncashed payroll checks. I further explain that contrary to public perception, those properties cannot be ‘kept’ by the holder, but instead are required to be reported to the state of the owner’s last known address after a certain period of time, depending on the state. I rarely dive into the fact that there are multiple reporting jurisdictions with little uniformity between them all.”—Christopher Jensen, director of abandoned and unclaimed property compliance, Ryan

 

 

“Whenever I try and explain unclaimed property to my family, friends or anyone not familiar with it, I usually just try and keep it simple. Typically I’ll use examples that everyone can understand, such as a payroll check. I explain that often when company issues a payroll check, or any other property type that is “owed” to someone, sometimes they remain uncashed. So far, so good.

 

“I then let them know that if an item remains unclaimed for a specific period of time set by a state law, e.g. three years, then the item is deemed to be ‘unclaimed’ or ‘abandoned’ and may have to be reported to the state as unclaimed property. I let them know that historically most companies would just void old uncashed checks, but that there were laws that actually required that these items be reported to the state. Most people begin to fidget about now.

 

“I explain that because the items was actually owed to someone else, it was not the issuer’s property, so they don’t get to keep it. They are required to 1) find the person to whom it’s owed or 2) remit it to the state so that it can locate the owner. I also explain that although a state will typically pay an owner the property it’s holding for them whenever they come forward, in the meantime it can use the money as part of its budget. At this point, most people are staring at a point somewhere over my head.

 

“Finally, I tell them that if the name and address of the owner can’t be found, the property goes to the state of incorporation of the issuer. Then I go for the big guns: Because unclaimed property is not a tax (remember, it’s money that’s actually owed to someone else), there’s typically no statute of limitations. I also explain that historically, unclaimed property audits have covered decades. That, and a very brief summary of how estimations work and the dollars involved, usually gets their attention.

 

“That what I usually do when asked about unclaimed property.”—Matt Chenowth, senior manager of unclaimed property, True Partners Consulting LLC

 

 

Now it’s your turn. How do you explain unclaimed property? Add a comment to this post to share your response.

 

 

Tags:  unclaimed property  UPPO Asks 

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UPPO Asks: What Gets You Through Fall Reporting Season?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 15, 2016

Periodically, UPPO asks members to respond to a question, sharing their ideas, insights, and experience. The recurring UPPO Asks feature is a compilation of their responses.

 

We recently asked several members: “What gets you through fall reporting season?”

 

“My team of three who manage the Eaton Corporation annual compliance process stated that the following gets them through the fall reporting process:

  • Perseverance and teamwork gets me through fall filing.
  • Timely processing of DDL responses and holding weekly status meetings with the team.
  • Teamwork, organization, time lines and blocking the calendar.”

—Laura Lane, manager, unclaimed property, Eaton Corporation – North American Financial Services Center

 

“The fantastic software that I use really keeps me on track and I try to stay ahead on what reports are due and when. Staying on top of things makes my life a lot easier and less stressful!”—Victoria Blann, accounting assistant, Murphy USA

 

“We have several things that help us get through the fall filings:

  • Internal schedule. We have a set schedule that we follow internally that gives us some leeway in case anything comes up such as technological issues, scheduling conflicts, or upcoming projects. We plan our schedule well in advance so that we can prepare ahead of time if we know of any upcoming projects or time off.
  • Organization. We are very organized with our filings. We have a folder for each state that organizes each annual filing with all details and copies of items that are needed.  
  • Customer Service. We are a very customer service based company. We are motivated to get money back to customers. We allow ourselves extra time for responses to due diligence letters as well as any necessary follow-up.
  • Recognition. We are very good with motivating, praising, and rewarding employees. They work very hard because they know they are appreciated, and it feels good when they get to hear they did a great job and everything was filed on time with no major issues.
  • Caffeine.
  • Set procedures. Having procedures in place on how items are handled makes things a lot smoother. Everything is consistent between different individual's work and helps when reviewing before report submission.

I think overall, the biggest key to getting us through, especially with multiple items due around the same time, is organization. It is a lot of work at once and staying organized and having a schedule helps alleviate some of the stress of how will I finish all of this, when should I start this, will I have enough time for other things, what if I get sick, or what am I going to do if this can't get done.”—Shannon Shellberg, unclaimed property team lead, Uline

 

“Responsible, dependable co-workers who pay keen attention to state statute changes.”—Bianca Lopez, managing director of client tax reporting, Charles Schwab & Co.

 

“Several things:

  1. Planning and preparation
  2. Review of the state UCP regulations and remittance instructions to ensure any changes in the law have been captured
  3. Having a calendar of events and deliverables taking into consideration your volume.  (Project plan)
  4. Organization and focus on the tasks due and to be completed.
  5. Automation  (where possible)
  6. On-time delivery of reports, files and property”

—Craig Keller, manager of unclaimed property, Computershare

 

Now it’s your turn. What gets you through fall reporting season? Add a comment to this post to share your response.

 


Tags:  unclaimed property  UPPO Asks 

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UPPO Asks: How Do You Feel About the Finalized Draft of the RUUPA?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Periodically, UPPO asks members to respond to a question, sharing their ideas, insights, and experience. The recurring UPPO Asks feature is a compilation of their responses.

 

We recently asked several members: How do you feel about the finalized draft of the UUPA? Is there a specific provision you are especially excited about or, conversely, think will hurt the holder community?

 

“We are generally pleased with the results of the revision of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act that was approved by the ULC. In general, it respects the substantive law that governs the insurance business, although there are aspects which, if pursued by the administrators, will surely invade the regulation of the business of insurance. To the extent that administrators choose to do so, it would be a continuing concern for the industry and for insurance commissioners.”—David L. Westmark, senior counsel, operations law, Thrivent Financial

 

“This was a long time coming. It was nice to know the ULC was focused on modernizing the act, adding more property types and bringing it into the 21st century. It was an exciting opportunity to have a voice and speak up about how certain issues would affect the holder community. For the ULC, it was a balancing act to hear all sides and make sure it wasn’t skewed one way or the other. My hope is that, with so much time and effort put into modernizing it from both the state side and the holder side, we can now hone in on the areas that we feel are most important and those where additional language of clarity needs to be provided. I’m also hoping that we’ll see an increased percentage of states implementing the RUUPA.”—Heela Popal, principal  of the National Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

 

“I have serious doubts about the potential for passing the RUUPA in state legislatures. The states and contingent fee auditors have fought hard to retain some of the most noxious ‘rights’ they have asserted through audit over the past decade, and I do not see holders lining up behind this legislation. On the contrary, I think many holders will see this as bad legislation. For example, why would any gift card issuer support a bill that has the gift card exemption bracketed in its draft? Who wants to use their political capital to try to retain an exemption you already have in many states?

 

“The very fact that the states and auditors have fought tooth and nail to keep the derivative rights doctrine out of the RUUPA tells you that they have no desire to serve as honest custodians of truly unclaimed property, but rather want to grab as many dollars as they can to support their general revenue funds. 

 

“I think another problem with the RUUPA is its treatment of foreign addressed property. The draft’s inclusion of this property in the scope of the legislation is clearly a violation of the rights of foreign owners (and frankly makes no sense to anyone who looks at the issue logically).

 

“Finally, the stubborn insistence of the states, auditors and drafters to preserve the Third Rule (despite the 3rd Circuit decision in N.J. Retail Merchants Ass’n v. Sidamon-Eristoff declaring the patently unconstitutional Rule in violation of the Texas cases of the Supreme Court) is a major step backwards.

 

“Are there goods provisions in the RUUPA? Sure. I like the provision of administrative procedures for reviews of audit findings.”—James G. Ryan, member, Bailey Cavalieri

 

More information
What's next for UPPO & the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act?

 


Tags:  unclaimed property  UPPO Asks 

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