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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 members play essential role in growing membership

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 27, 2016

Whether it’s educating holders, working to ensure fair regulation or bringing unclaimed property professionals together, UPPO’s initiatives depend on a large, active membership. Growing membership helps strengthen the organization and the profession it represents, so recruiting new members is an unending task.

 

Fortunately, many potential members learn about UPPO from current members who recognize the benefits of bringing more people into the organization.

 

Mike Ryan, senior vice president at Georgeson, has recruited several UPPO members. He often speaks to industry groups about unclaimed property issues, and includes a discussion about UPPO and its resources for holders within his presentations. Individual conversations with attendees at these events also often include encouragement to join.

 

“The greatest thing about UPPO is the networking—the sharing of ideas and things that work and don’t work,” Ryan says. “The more members we have, the more experiences we can tap into.”

 

Ryan finds that potential members are often intrigued by the ability to connect with peers who share similar issues and speak the same industry jargon. He frequently shares the benefit of the industry breakout groups at the UPPO Annual Conference and the online member forum.

 

“If someone handling unclaimed property for a bank, for example, knows the annual conference will likely be attended by peers from 20 other banks who understand the issues they’re dealing with and are willing to share, they want to be there too,” Ryan says.

 

Randy Hotz, president of Choice Plus LLC, recently referred a new member to UPPO. They first met at a Michigan Senate finance committee hearing and had a series of subsequent conversations. Several times, while talking about unclaimed property issues, Hotz mentioned UPPO’s work and encouraged membership.

 

He focused on the association’s long track record of advocacy, professional reputation and positive standing among stakeholders, including holders, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, individual state administrators, the American Bar Association and the Uniform Law Commission. Soon, his encouragement paid off in the form of a new UPPO member.

 

“For people truly interested in getting involved, it’s not that difficult to sell them on the benefit of membership,” Hotz says. The trick is identifying those people who are a little more active and motivated.”

 

In addition to the networking, conference and advocacy benefits, some of the other benefits that often resonate with potential members include:

  • Educational webinars and events
  • Tools and resources available on the website, including the Jurisdiction Resource Guide
  • Legislative and regulatory tracking via govWATCH  

 

As a token of appreciation for members who refer new members and to encourage member references, UPPO thanks referrals with a $100 gift card. To learn more about UPPO’s Membership Referral 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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Certificate program provides unique opportunities for education and development

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Since its inception, the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) has made training one of its cornerstones. To give members a well-defined path to gain a well-rounded education in unclaimed property and to demonstrate their professionalism and knowledge, UPPO introduced the Unclaimed Property Certificate Program last year.

 

The inaugural group of 30 participants recently completed the program. The level of education provided as part of the certificate program surprised and impressed several of the first-year participants.

 

“It really showed me what I did and didn’t know,” says Shaunna Glogoza, accounts payable lead and unclaimed property clerk for Landauer, who has worked in unclaimed property for four years. “It’s easy to take for granted some of the fundamentals and think you know it all. I was expecting to simply refresh my existing knowledge and earn the certificate. I wasn’t expecting to get as much out of it as I did.”

 

Achieving the certificate requires completion of a series of live and on-demand webinars and UPPO Annual Conference sessions, along with a passing grade on quizzes following each education session. Topics include due diligence, dormancy, record retention, non-compliance liability, and timely remitting and reporting. See the full curriculum.

 

One of the many benefits of the program is the inclusion of all aspects of unclaimed property. Because practices and requirements vary by state, property type and industry, even people who have been handling unclaimed property for several years may not understand the nuances that don’t apply to their day-to-day responsibilities.

 

“Having worked in all areas of unclaimed property for about five years, I went into the program thinking it would be really easy,” says Jessica Rogers, unclaimed property administrator at Lincoln Financial Group. “But it put me in my place. The value far exceeded my expectations. I definitely learned a lot.”

 

In addition to the knowledge gained through participation in the program, achieving a certificate demonstrates a commitment to professionalism. It can build self-confidence of certificate recipients and the confidence of others.

 

“People have more trust in you if you’ve been through a formal educational program like this,” says Jason Higginbotham, CAPM, manager at Crowe Horwath LLP. “As a holder advocate, it helps me differentiate myself to be able to say I’ve been through the UPPO certificate program.”

 

The inaugural year certificate program participants are excited not only to have been part of the first group to achieve certificates, but also at the possibility for expansion of the program. Ideas include offering certificates for multiple tiers—beginner, intermediate and advanced. In fact, Higginbotham, who serves on the Certificate Program Subcommittee, says these are among the program’s long-term goals.

 

With registration opening on July 12 for a new class of participants, now is the time to consider whether it’s worth pursuing a certificate. Those who have been through it respond to this question with a resounding, “yes.”

 

“It’s absolutely worth it,” Glogoza says. “The amount you will learn can easily be applied to what you do every day. It’s one of those, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know until you find out’ things. Even people who have been in unclaimed property for several years can learn from it, so it’s definitely worth it.”

 

Higginbotham concurs. “There’s no other program out there for unclaimed property professionals that compares to this one,” he says. “If you work for a holder, this is the perfect way to get a broad introduction to unclaimed property and the only end-to-end overview of everything you need to know. If you’re a holder advocate, this is a good way to demonstrate to clients that you not only have the experience but also the education to represent them effectively.”

 

Learn more about the UPPO Unclaimed Property Certificate Program and watch for registration to open for the 2016/17 certificate program on July 12 a noon CDT/1 p.m. EDT. It will be limited to 65 members.

 

Tags:  certificate program  education  professional development  training  unclaimed property 

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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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January UPPO events spotlight emerging trends and the Annual Conference

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 22, 2015

UPPO has announced two educational events aimed at giving unclaimed property professionals a deeper look at emerging unclaimed property trends, and a preview of the association’s Annual Conference. Both events are scheduled on Jan. 20; 2016.

 

Lunch ’n Learn - Los Angeles

Part of the association’s recently introduced Lunch ’n Learn educational program, UPPO’s Los Angeles event will provide attendees with a greater understanding of the emerging trends affecting their profession. The event will include a review of unclaimed property laws, an explanation of general compliance requirements, and a discussion of the audit and enforcement environment, and legislative, regulatory and legal updates. Time will be available for peer networking as well.

 

Janet Gagliano, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and national leader of the abandoned and unclaimed property practice, and Jack Schwartz, director of PwC’s abandoned and unclaimed property practice, will lead the session.

 

“Holders are more frequently facing multi-state audits, rather than just audits by Delaware and one or two other participating states as in the past,” says Schwartz. This expansion of state audits has really changed the landscape of what Holders need to do on a go-forward basis.”

 

To increase your understanding of the evolving landscape, register for UPPO’s Lunch ‘n Learn - Los Angeles today. Members and nonmembers are able to attend for $59 (includes lunch, education, networking, and one CPE credit).

 

Annual Conference Preview Webinar

Members planning to attend—or still deciding whether to attend—the 2016 UPPO Annual Conference in Palm Springs, Calif., can get a sneak peak of the event by participating in the Jan. 20 Annual Conference Preview webinar from 2 – 3 p.m. EST. Presenters will provide helpful tips to maximizing the conference experience and will preview the hot topics sessions and the new industry-specific education track. The webinar will also include a legislative and regulatory update and time for conference-related questions. This event is free and exclusively for members.

 

Presenters include conference veterans: Yudit Freda, Carla McGlynn, Jonida Shehu, Karen Stevens, and Leigh Underwood.

 

Learn more about the Annual Conference Preview webinar and register today.

 


Tags:  audits  compliance  education  unclaimed property 

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As unclaimed property enforcement increases, need for compliance grows

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 3, 2015

States are increasingly dependent on unclaimed property as a major non-tax revenue source. As such, many are implementing new tactics to identify reporting gaps and more aggressively audit property holders. The potential costs associated with a lengthy audit, steep non-compliance assessments and reputational risk pose significant threats, making compliance with unclaimed property requirements more important than ever.

 

To help individuals who need to build their company’s unclaimed property compliance program, educate internal stakeholders of the importance of compliance and keep up with the latest compliance trends, UPPO’s upcoming Lunch ‘n Learn events in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver will address compliance issues.

 

“Unclaimed property is an area that’s high risk and low reward. You only get noticed when you get in trouble,” says Jamshid Ebadi, director of abandoned and unclaimed property practice at Ryan and UPPO Lunch ‘n Learn - Denver speaker. “Never has it been more important to make sure you have processes and tools in place to meet your unclaimed property requirements.”

 

Although awareness of unclaimed property in general has increased significantly in recent years, many holders still struggle to define which areas of their businesses are covered by unclaimed property requirements. Many recognize the most obvious sources, such as accounts payable, payroll and gift cards, but may not consider other areas until they’re being audited.

 

“You really have to look at each state’s statutes to determine what falls under their definition of unclaimed property,” says Samantha Petersen, west region unclaimed property practice leader, state and local tax at KPMG and UPPO Lunch ‘n Learn - Denver speaker. “If there’s any question whether something is considered unclaimed property or not, chances are a state and its auditors will argue that it is.”

 

As states try to increase revenue without the stigma of raising taxes, they are increasingly looking at unclaimed property to help their budgets. Many now retain third-party auditors paid on contingency, and use analytics to identify likely reporting gaps and tax database crosschecks to find companies that haven’t filed unclaimed property reports.

 

So how can holders without adequate policies, procedures and practices in place begin to get control of their unclaimed property responsibilities?

 

“Anything you’re learning brand new is hard to do without assistance,” Ebadi says. “Reach out to people who have that knowledge. Don’t try to handle it without speaking with people who have implemented unclaimed property policies and procedures.”

 

Peterson agrees, adding that conducting a complete review and exercising caution when coming into compliance is essential. “If you’re going to report past-due properties, it’s best to identify all areas of exposure and approach all states one time,” she advises. “Simply submitting a report with past-due property could trigger an audit.”

 

Understanding the complexities of unclaimed property requirements and keeping up with compliance trends is challenging. To learn more, discuss firsthand compliance challenges and network with other unclaimed property professionals, attend UPPO’s Lunch ‘n Learn events in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver on Sept. 15 and Sept. 17, respectively. Register today!


Tags:  compliance  Denver  education  lunch ‘n learns  Minneapolis  unclaimed property 

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