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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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Attending the UPPO Annual Conference? Explore Austin

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 9, 2017

In addition to unmatched educational and networking opportunities, the 2017 UPPO Annual Conference presents a chance for attendees to take advantage of a great location, Austin, Texas. Best known for its diverse music scene, Austin offers visitors a multitude of sightseeing, dining, shopping and entertainment options. Following are several of Austin’s many worthwhile destinations to consider while in town.

 

Entertainment

A trip to Austin would not be complete without live music. The city boasts dozens of music venues and one of the best local scenes anywhere. A few of the most popular live music bars and clubs are:

 

Restaurants

Dining options abound in Austin, so it shouldn’t have a difficult time finding something to please even the most refined tastes. Popular choices for Mexican food include La Condesa and Torchy’s Tacos. If you’re craving great barbeque, try La Barbecue or Stubbs Bar-B-Q. You’ll find upscale Thai and Chinese cuisine at Sway Thai and Wu Chow, respectively. And if you’re seeking dining options as quirky as Austin itself, check out Hillside Farmacy, a former pharmacy, or Launderette, a former laundromat.

 

Attractions

The Texas Capitol building is one of the most iconic statehouses in the nation. Located less than a mile from the UPPO conference site, the 128-year-old capitol is open to the public and features free guided and self-guided tours.

 

Presidential history buffs can explore the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, which features exhibits, events and information dedicated to the life and political career of the 36th U.S. president.

 

Visitors who are interested in taking in some art while in Austin will love the city’s many galleries and museums, including:

  • Blanton Museum of Art, featuring nearly 18,00 works of art, including European paintings, prints and drawing, and American and Latin American contemporary art
  • Mexic-Arte Museum, dedicated to the work of Mexican and Latino artists
  • Yard Dog, a gallery showcasing eclectic pop art and folk art from around the world, including several artists who are also well-known musicians
  • HOPE Outdoor Gallery, a community art park also known as Graffiti Park, featuring the work of street artists and muralists

 

Whether you’re interested in getting some exercise or simply enjoying the outdoors, Lady Bird Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail offers a 10-mile of biking, jogging and walking trail and boardwalk. Its location in downtown Austin provides visitors with a nature getaway in the midst of a bustling city.

 

Shops

Austin is filled with unique, independent retail shops for every taste, some of them unlike anything you’ll find at home. A self-described “emporium of transcendent junk,” Uncommon Objects brings together two dozen antique sellers offering vintage books, jewelry, art, collectables and assorted oddities.

 

If you miss the days of flipping through albums rather than downloading mp3s, Austin has you covered. Waterloo Records, Breakaway Records and End of an Era are a few of the city’s most popular independent record stores.

 

Looking for designer fashions? Try Kick Pleat, Olive and By George. If vintage is more your style, Feathers Boutique, Blue Velvet or Charm School Vintage. Or, if you live by the old adage, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” head to Allens Boots and Callahan’s General Store will meet your western wear needs.

 

Explore

Austin has a lot to offer. If you really want to go get a feel for the city, start by exploring the shopping and entertainment districts surrounding the JW Marriott Austin, the UPPO Annual Conference location:

  • 2nd Street District, featuring shops and restaurants
  • Warehouse District, home to some of the city’s best music venues and dining options
  • Sixth Street, reflecting the eclectic vibe for which Austin is known, including entertainment venues, dining and bars to meet most tastes

 

Enjoy your time in Austin!

 

 

Tags:  UPPO annual conference 

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UPPO Honors Annual Award Winners

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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.

 

Member’s Choice Awards

With the Member’s Choice Awards, UPPO recognizes specific state administrators, staff, and unclaimed property programs for their excellence. Conference attendees chose the winners from a slate of nominees, and the winners were announced during “The State Talk”. Congratulations to this year’s recipients:

  • Above & Beyond award: Walter Graham, Florida
  • Website award: Indiana
  • Overall excellence award: Michigan

 

Awards of Merit

This award is given to member organizations that have provided exceptional support to UPPO. Reed Smith, Bailey Cavalieri, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, and Alston & Bird received this honor for working collaboratively to represent UPPO on a pro bono basis, producing an amicus curiea brief for the Taylor v. Yee case being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

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:

  • John Waite, who initiated the recommendation of the owner representatives education and networking group to the board of directors.
  • Jennifer Borden, who assisted Uniform Law Commission and UPPO representatives better understand the securities industry as they work toward a clear, concise and fair Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.
  • Adriane Counts, who led the on-demand virtual education subcommittee, turning it into an effective and efficient group that provided education to membership and the UPPO Certificate Program.  

 

Shining Star Awards

Seven UPPO members received Shining Star honors for “shining brightly to help guide the way.” They are:

  • Rick Mah, for his sustainable and forward-thinking attitude and guidance on the UPPO Scholarship Program.
  • Karen Anderson and Chris Hopkins, for their leadership and guidance on the consolidated reporting issue that UPPO and Nevada are working together on.
  • Leigh Underwood, for her leading the development and successful launch of the new certificate program.
  • John Paul (J.P.) DeCloux, for developing a system to help the Finance Committee consider project ROI and analyze the lifetime value of members based on current membership factors.
  • Chris Powers, for recommending a change to UPPO’s credit card processor, which will save the association approximately $10,000 annually.
  • Jon Hallack, for working to reform Michigan’s audit procedures.

 

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. Kendall Houghton and Debbie Zumoff received this award for their tireless leadership representing UPPO at the ULC Drafting Committee meetings.

 

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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UPPO concludes successful annual conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 24, 2016

More than 525 unclaimed property professionals gathered in Palm Springs, Calif., on March 20 – 23 for UPPO’s 2016 Annual Conference. The event featured UPPO initiative updates, valuable networking opportunities and more than 30 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, including escheatment rules, legislative and litigation trends, audits, voluntary disclosure agreements, due diligence, policies and procedures, the Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) work and use of the Death Master File.

 

Attendees also heard from state administrators during “The State Talk” session and got insight into the challenges faced by each of the various stakeholders in the unclaimed property process courtesy of the “Can’t We All Just Get Along” panel. 

 

State of UPPO

2015/16 UPPO President Dana Terry provided attendees with an update on the association’s recent work and ongoing initiatives. The year’s highlights include: continued membership growth, certificate program rollout, Lunch ’n Learn event introduction, ULC Uniform Unclaimed Property Act advocacy, annual conference educational track expansion, Delaware audit manual assistance, Owner Representative Committee formation, UPPO Scholarship Program growth, and association bylaw revisions.

 

“To have this many substantial projects to highlight is quite an accomplishment for a volunteer-run organization,” Terry said.

 

Attendees at the Annual Business Meeting voted to approve two recommended UPPO bylaw amendments. The first expands the association’s four regions to include Canadian provinces. The second grants the board the ability to amend the bylaws, in accordance with best practices for association governance and advice from legal counsel.

 

2016/17 Board of Directors

Terry thanked members of the 2015/16 UPPO Board of Directors for their service and recognized departing board member Debbie Zumoff for her years of leadership. She then turned the gavel over to her successor as UPPO Executive Director Toni Nuernberg installed the new board:

  • President Heela Popal
  • First Vice President Carla McGlynn
  • Second Vice President Marilyn Henry
  • Treasurer John Waite
  • Secretary Sherri Moll
  • Midwestern Vice President Troy Wangen
  • Eastern Vice President Mike Ryan
  • Southern Vice President Christopher Jensen
  • Western Vice President Scott Pettinato
  • Immediate Past President Dana Terry

Upon her installation as president, Popal outlined her priorities for the year: continued membership growth, advocacy and reform, and nurturing the new certificate program.

 

“I’m not going to only lean on the board of directors for strategic thinking, but also our members for feedback,” Popal said.

 

UPPO Scholarship

Each year at the Annual Conference, the association announces the recipient 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 recipient is Charles Julius, whose mother, Cherie Julius, is senior tax manager for ULINE.

 

Attendees wishing to support the UPPO Scholarship Program participated in a 5k Walk/Run and 50/50 raffle, and donated to the program during the conference. These efforts raised over $3,500 for the Scholarship Program!

 

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
  • Altus Group US Inc.
  • Boomerang Asset Recovery
  • Crowe Horwath LLP
  • Dentons US LLP
  • Financial Software Innovations Inc.
  • Georgeson Inc.
  • Keane
  • KPMG LLP
  • MarketSphere Unclaimed Property Specialists
  • Mizuno USA Inc.
  • Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP
  • Navigant
  • Pension Benefit Information
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • Reed Smith LLP
  • RSM US LLP
  • Ryan
  • Tre Towers Advisory Group LLC
  • True Partners Consulting
  • Unclaimed Property Consulting & Reporting LLC

Exhibitors

  • Baker Tilly
  • Boomerang Asset Recovery
  • Chesapeake System Solutions Inc.
  • Crowe Horwath LLP
  • DuCharme, McMillen & Associates Inc.
  • Eagle Technology Management Inc.
  • Financial Software Innovations Inc.
  • Georgeson Inc.
  • Keane
  • MarketSphere Unclaimed Property Specialists
  • MIB
  • Navigant
  • New York Post
  • New York Daily News
  • Pension Benefit Information
  • Ryan
  • The Berwyn Group
  • True Partners Consulting
  • Vanacore

Mark your calendars

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 Austin, Texas on March 19 - 22 for the 2017 UPPO Annual Conference. Planning is already underway, and it’s sure to be another great event.

Tags:  education  unclaimed property  UPPO Annual Conference 

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Highlights of the 2015 UPPO Annual Conference

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 30, 2015
Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2015

Over 520 unclaimed property professionals joined UPPO in Orlando for our 2015 Annual Conference and 20th anniversary celebration on March 8 - 11! During the conference we learned, networked, had a great time celebrating UPPO's milestones, and planning for what's to come in years ahead.

Highlights of the conference

  • Announcing Erica Murphy, daughter of Andrew Murphy, Verizon Communications, as the recipient of the 2015 UPPO Scholarship.

  • Raising $4,809 for the UPPO Scholarship Program through 5K registrations, donations, and the 50/50 raffle.
  • Installation of the 2015/2016 UPPO Board of Directors. 2015/2016 UPPO President Dana Terry took the gavel and officially began her year-long term as president. The goals she has set for the board and organization closely align with those of her predecessor, Debbie L. Zumoff.

1)      Increasing the value of membership through membership growth

2)      Retaining a clear and consistent voice in the advocacy realm

3)      Exploration of expanded educational opportunities

  • Annually, UPPO recognizes state unclaimed property programs, staff, and administrators that are committed to building relationships with the holder community and assisting with holder compliance, education, and reporting ease. This year we awarded:
    • Website Award: North Carolina
    • Above & Beyond Award: Kathleen Lobell, director of Louisiana's unclaimed property program
    • Overall Excellence Award: Florida
  • Recognizing the outstanding volunteers that have shaped UPPO into the organization it is today.

Team player award recipients

  • Ethan Millar, Alston & Bird for his leadership on the speaker selection subcommittee
  • Becky Stephens, U.S. Bank for stepping up to serve on the conference and seminar subcommittee and strong desire to see UPPO succeed

Shining star award recipients

  • Darren Jack, Impact 360, for his expert guidance in bridging UPPO into Canada with its successful Holders Seminar – Canada event.
  • Michael Ryan, Keane, for his fundraising expertise and passion to guide the scholarship program to success
  • Michelle Andre, Tre Towers Advisory Group, for her leadership in a government relations & advocacy committee work group
  • John Coalson, Alston & Bird, for his leadership in a government relations & advocacy committee work group
  • Lori Fitzgerald, Computershare Investor Services, for her leadership in a government relations & advocacy committee work group
  • Brenda Mayrack, Mayrack Law, for her leadership in a government relations & advocacy committee work group
  • Cindy Nisley, Georgeson, for her leadership in a government relations & advocacy committee work group
  • Sam Schaunaman, Ryan, for his leadership in a government relations & advocacy committee work group

President’s Award

  • Karen Anderson, Keane, for her fierce loyalty and never ending energy to work for the betterment of the holder community and UPPO members.

Super Nova Award

  • Laura Lane, Eaton Corp., for her longstanding commitment to the organization through various volunteer and leadership roles.

Award of Merit

  • Alston & Bird, for its supply of quality volunteers to UPPO to lead both the education and government relations and advocacy committees, and willingness to dedicate hours of time to UPPO’s advocacy efforts.
  • Reed Smith, for the quality work it supplied to UPPO’s Uniform Law Commission submission. 
  • The well attended and dynamic Unclaimed Property According to the States session. A number of state administrators participated in this moderated coffee-house style panel discussion to answer the questions that emerged from industry breakout sessions.
  • Three education tracks, four sessions dedicated to the ULC, two meetings of the industry breakouts, and numerous general sessions that engaged attendees and sparked dialogue.
  • Celebrating UPPO’s 20th anniversary with cake and old memories.

Thanks to all those that attended, and those that assisted in shaping the conference into what attendees were able to enjoy and take part in. We look forward to seeing you in Palm Springs, Calif., March 20 – 23, 2016 for the 2016 UPPO Annual Conference!

 

Tags:  education  unclaimed property  UPPO  UPPO Annual Conference 

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Safe Deposit Boxes and Beyond: The Storage Wars of Unclaimed Property

Posted By Sandy Willard, UPPO Annual Conference speaker, Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014

If you’ve seen the show "Storage Wars”, you know from the tagline of the show that "when storage units are abandoned, the treasures within are put up for auction.” In the unclaimed property world, there is no big reveal that exposes what one would classify as a treasure. Holders of tangible unclaimed property typically spend a lot of their time sifting through items with little or no value; like papers, clothing, etc.

Tangible property is interesting in that the regulations dictating holder responsibilities are often vague or incomplete, such as guidelines outlining how to liquidate property and what to do with items not reportable to the states. Like intangible property, tangible property comes in many forms and varies by industry. The most common type of tangible property is contents found in safe deposit boxes held by banks and financial institutions. Hotels, schools, museums, and hospitals are also common reporters of tangible unclaimed property.

At the 2014 UPPO Annual Conference, March 23-26 in Grapevine, Texas there is a session designed to answer the common questions that arise when dealing with tangible unclaimed property. Attend the session Safe Deposit Boxes and Beyond: The Storage Wars of Unclaimed Property to learn answers to the following questions; "What are reportable items?”, "How do I deliver the items to the state?”, and "What do I do with the unwanted items?”


What are reportable items?

Each state has a list of items it wants the holder to report and remit. Holders can find such lists on states’ websites. Some states, like California, require a holder to report all contents found in a safe deposit box, whereas, New York only wants military medals and face value cash found in the boxes.


How do I deliver the items to the state?

The approaches to delivery requirements vary by state. Some states, such as Florida, provide very specific instructions for the delivery of tangible property. Others are not so defined. There are states, such as Connecticut, that require holders to liquidate all tangible property of value and remit the proceeds, minus specific expenses due the holder. Other states, such as New York, allow non-reportable safe deposit box contents to be liquidated, but do not require it. By requiring or allowing the holder to sell tangible properties, states are able to obtain the cash from liquidations, but pass the burden and expense of handling, storing, and liquidating actual objects to the holders.


What do I do with the unwanted items?

Creating a company policy and procedure of how to handle unwanted items will help alleviate holders of the uncertainty and space burden tangible items bring. Identifying how long to keep the tangible items, proper documentation, and record retention are all issues to address in the policy and procedure.

For more in-depth discussion of these questions and the issues holders of tangible property face, attend the session Safe Deposit Boxes and Beyond: The Storage Wars of Unclaimed Property at the 2014 UPPO Annual Conference, March 23-26 in Grapevine, Texas. Register today!


About the Author

Sandy Willard, vice president and corporate asset recovery manager of Keane, is a co-presenter of the session Safe Deposit Boxes and Beyond: The Storage Wars of Unclaimed Property. Sandy has over 18 years of experience in the unclaimed property industry. She managed unclaimed property reporting at Wachovia Bank. During that time she led the effort to consolidate unclaimed property reporting for Wachovia and its subsidiaries into a centralized location, and led a project to liquidate safe deposit box contents in states that do not accept tangible properties and/or require their liquidation.Sandy also designed and implemented procedures to recover escheated funds, including the recovery of funds prior to escheatment, funds held at state and federal agencies and courts. Contact Sandy Willard at swillard@keaneup.com or 646-770-9216.

Tags:  safe deposit boxes  tangible property  unclaimed property  UPPO Annual Conference 

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