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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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Two sessions focusing on ULC reform developments

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) effort to revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA) has captured the attention of the unclaimed property profession since it picked up the issue in 2013.  As we draw closer to the project end date of July 2016, there’s much that’s not clear and awaiting a decision. At the 2016 UPPO Annual Conference, March 20 – 23; Palm Springs, Calif. there will be two sessions dedicated to talking nothing but ULC. These sessions feature the leaders in unclaimed property reform, and represent unique stakeholder perspectives. If you’re interested in staying in the know, add at least one of these sessions to your personal conference schedule.


Unclaimed Property Reform: Where are we now?
Monday, March 21; 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
The stakeholders  part of the effort to revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act will participate in a moderated, roundtable discussion to share viewpoints on the key issues being grappled with in the Uniform Law Commission forum. This session is sure to be engaging and informative with the number of perspectives represented.


Panelists:
Carolyn Atkinson, advisor to the ULC drafting committee on behalf of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators
Kendall Houghton, UPPO Government Relations and Advocacy Committee (GRAC) co-chair and UPPO’s ULC spokesperson
Michael Houghton, ULC drafting committee co-chair
Ethan Millar, advisor to the ULC drafting committee on behalf of the American Bar Association
David Westmark, Thrivent Financial 


Moderator:
Debbie L. Zumoff, UPPO ULC work group chair


ULC session: Where the ULC stands on our issues
Tuesday, March 22; 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Interact with and hear from some of UPPO’s advocacy leaders during this session which will catch you up on where the RUUPA stands on the issues that UPPO members identified as priorities. UPPO has been engaged in the ULC reform process in various capacities, and have been driven by representing our members and the issues most important to you.  


Speakers:
Karen Anderson, UPPO GRAC co-chair
Michelle Andre, UPPO GRAC co-chair
John Coalson, UPPO GRAC member
Kendall Houghton, UPPO GRAC co-chair and UPPO’s ULC spokesperson

Early bird registration savings end Jan. 27 -- don’t miss out and register today!

 

 

Tags:  reform  ULC  unclaimed property  Uniform Unclaimed Property Act 

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We’re halfway through the ULC’s effort to revise the UUPA!

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 30, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

We’re halfway through the Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) effort to revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act! As we move into the next phase of the process, we want to share how the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA) draft addresses UPPO’s top 5 advocacy issues, as determined by members through the advocacy survey conducted in summer 2013. UPPO work groups were formed around those priorities, to research and draft position statements on each issue.  Now, we want your input to identify the issues on which UPPO should continue to focus its advocacy efforts, before the RUUPA draft becomes final. Take the survey to share your thoughts.

Though we are only half-way, UPPO believes the current RUUPA draft reflects the ULC’s desire to produce a final product that infuses fairness, modernization, and clarity that is recognizable by all stakeholders. We understand there is still work to be done, and therefore will remain engaged through continued verbal and written commentary, attendance at relevant ULC meetings, and collaboration with other stakeholders.

Status of UPPO’s Top 5 advocacy issues


Priority 1: Due diligence timelines

To minimize the complexity facing holders, the RUUPA currently says* owner notification needs to be completed not less than 60 days before filing the report. This lends flexibility to holders to complete due diligence on their own timeline rather than be locked into a specific time period.  This timing was suggested by UPPO in its position statement which was initially drafted by one of UPPO’s work groups.


*To ensure Section 8(f) and (h)(2)(B) are consistent with Section 10 and what the ULC drafting committee agreed upon during the February 2015 meeting, the language regarding the due diligence timeframe needs to be altered to read “…not less than 60 days before filing a report”. UPPO believes this is a drafting oversight that will be corrected once it’s brought to the attention of the reporter. 

Priority 2: Record retention requirements

Section 21 of the RUUPA provides for a standard record retention period of 10 years, and lists the information required to be kept on file by the holder. The information holders must keep for 10 years is:

  • The date, place, and nature of the circumstances which give rise to the property right;
  • The amount or value of the property; and,
  • The last known address of the owner, if known to the holder. 

UPPO recommended the record retention requirement be seven years, and that holder records must be retrievable in case of an audit.

 


Priority 3: Electronic owner contact

One of UPPO’s primary messages and goals in its comments to the ULC was that the RUUPA needs to be modernized to include the technology that drives modern commercial transactions – including electronic owner contact and recurring ACH transactions. The RUUPA draft includes the following types of electronic owner contact:

  • Electronic communication by the owner to the holder or agent of the holder,
  • Electronic payment of a dividend, interest, or other distribution,

  • Owner-directed activity in the account (including accessing the account, increasing, decreasing, or change the amount in of property in the account) as acceptable forms of an owner’s interest in the property. 

Priority 4: Definition of owner contact

The current version of the RUUPA includes an expanded list of activities that are acceptable forms of owner contact, most of which were proposed by UPPO, but UPPO continues to advocate that the ULC drafting committee include automatic deposits and withdrawals as well.  Below is the list of activities that are included in the RUUPA as acceptable forms of contact:

  • Written communication (this includes electronic communication);

  • Oral communication (if the holder makes and preserves a record of the conversation);

  • Presentment of payment (check, electronic, or other instrument of payment) of a dividend, interest payment or other distribution;

  • Owner-directed activity in the account in which the property is held;

  • Making a deposit or withdrawal from an account in which the property is held*;

  • Payment of a premium with respect to an interest in an insurance policy;

  • Any action by an agent or other representative of an owner is presumed to have been done on behalf of the owner, and is considered an action by the owner.

*In addition, UPPO believes removing the brackets** placed around automatic withdrawals and deposits* in the current RUUPA draft (which means that this type of action may be excluded from the list of owner contact in the state adoption process) will better protect owners’ interests and align itself with how owners remain in touch with many of their property accounts.

 

**Brackets indicate that it’s an optional provision, and the adopting state can decide to include the provision in the adopted act.

 


Priority 5: Jurisdictional reporting deadlines

The RUUPA creates a standard reporting deadline for all non-life insurance holders of Nov. 1, and May 1 for insurance companies. 

 

As UPPO advocated, the RUUPA includes a provision which allows for elective early reporting by holders. The RUUPA specifically provides, if the holder has not succeeded in notifying the apparent owner of the property, the provision allows holders to voluntarily report and remit property that hasn’t yet been presumed abandoned. When the property is delivered to the state, the property will then be considered abandoned.

 

Questions about UPPO's advocacy strategy or how we are staying involved? Contact UPPO President Dana Terry.

 

More information

Register for this free, members-only webinar ULC Update Webinar, Aug. 18; 2 - 3 p.m. EST!

Tags:  advocacy  reform  RUUPA  unclaimed property  Uniform law commission  uniform unclaimed property act  UUPA 

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ULC meeting shows progress, but there’s more work to be done

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 30, 2015

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) drafting committee to revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (drafting committee) met in Washington D.C. Feb. 27 – 28 to discuss the latest version of the revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA) draft.

UPPO left the meeting feeling that progress was made, but additional dialogue on critical issues broadly impacting the holder community such as the activities constituting contact, the definition of holder, and administrative appeals, need further clarity and consideration.

Issues impacting the securities industry are among those that require focused attention in the current RUUPA. Seeing the need for additional dialogue and compromise between stakeholders, the drafting committee co-chairs requested specific stakeholder groups to meet before the next drafting committee meeting to discuss various securities-related issues. Representatives from UPPO, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), and specific securities industry groups have been invited to attend this meeting, set to happen in mid-April. UPPO looks forward to the opportunity to converse directly with NAUPA and the drafting committee reporter on the intricacies and regulations of the securities industry that need to be considered in the RUUPA to ensure the final version is modernized, fair, and clear of ambiguities. 

Inclusions in the current RUUPA draft that positively impact holders:
Please note, that the RUUPA is not finalized and the content currently included or left out of the draft can change. 

Revised definition of address
The revised definition of address is two-fold. For the purpose of giving notice by mail to an apparent owner, the location of the apparent owner must be sufficient to direct the delivery of mail. For the purpose of determining first priority reporting jurisdiction of property held for an owner, the definition includes any description code, or indication of the location of the apparent owner, regardless of whether it is sufficient to direct the delivery of mail to the apparent owner.

Foreign address property
The draft includes a section that explicitly says it does not apply to property held, due, and owing to a person whose last known address is in a foreign country or to property arising out of a foreign transaction where the property is held in a foreign country or location.

Audits
Lack of audit regulations has been a serious issue for the holder community, and it’s positive to see the willingness of the drafting committee to codify guidelines that will prevent abuse and encourage transparency. New additions related to audits include:

  • The requirement of third-party audit contracts to be reviewed by the appropriate channels within a state government prior to awarding contracts.
  • A standard preventing state employees involved in unclaimed property to become employed by a third-party audit company for a specific amount of time following employment by a state government.
  • A requirement of the state unclaimed property program to provide annual audit results to state executive and legislative officials
  • Authorization for state governments to award contracts to third-party auditors which is based on a fixed fee, hourly fee, or contingent fee (if contingent fee contract is awarded, the state must define the percentage allowed)

The ULC reform process is a slow, deliberate process intended to give all stakeholders the opportunity to provide verbal and/or written feedback. The opportunity for UPPO to influence issues still exists and we will continue to represent the holder community by advocating for modernization, clarity, and fairness in the RUUPA.

If you have questions or comments regarding UPPO’s advocacy efforts contact UPPO Executive Director Toni Nuernberg.

Tags:  advocacy  revise  unclaimed property  Uniform Law Commission  Uniform Unclaimed Property Act 

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The ULC is meeting today. Do you know what they are discussing?

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 27, 2015

 

The Uniform Law Commission Committee to Revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (drafting committee) will be meeting later this week, Feb. 27 – 28 in Washington D.C. The drafting committee will discuss the latest version of the revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (UUPA), and get one draft closer to finalization.

The drafting committee reporter has taken over 1,500 pages of written submissions to use as the basis of the 68 page UUPA draft. Some of the issues of particular interest to the holder community are described below:


Revised definition of address

The revised definition of address is two-fold. For the purpose of giving notice by mail to an apparent owner the location of the apparent owner sufficient to direct the delivery of mail. For the purpose of determining first priority jurisdiction of property held for an owner, includes any description code, or indication of the location of the apparent owner, regardless of whether it is sufficient to direct the delivery of mail to the apparent owner.

 

Activities that indicate interest by owner
An indication of an owner’s interest in property includes:

  • Any written communication, including electronic communication;
  • Any oral communication, if the holder makes and preserves record of communication;
  • Presentment of a check or other instrument of payment;
  • Owner-directed activity: including accessing the account, or direction by the owner to increase, decrease, or otherwise change the amount or type of property held in account;

  • Making a deposit or withdrawal from an account in which the property is held;

  • Payment of a premium with respect to a property interest in an insurance policy;

  • Any other action by the owner that demonstrates that the owner is aware that the property exists;

  • Any action by an agent or other representative of an owner, if done on behalf of the owner, is deemed an action by the owner.

Foreign address property

The draft includes a section that explicitly says it does not apply to property held, due, and owing to a person whose last known address is in a foreign country or to property arising out of a foreign transaction where the property is held in a foreign country or location.


Appealing an unjust, incorrect, or made in error determination
Holders would have the following options: 

  • Within 30 days of the administrator’s notice of determination of liability, a holder can request an informal conference with the administrator or an employee of the state. The informal conference will allow the holder to present its case to the administrator. Within 20 days of the conference, the administrator will issue the holder a decision. If a holder would like to challenge the conference decision they are able to bring suit in court.
  • As an alternative to filing suit against the determination, a holder wishing to challenge the administrator’s determination of liability would be able to proceed through an administrative appeals process.

Note: The reporter of the drafting committee favors the approach of the informal conference rather than administrative appeals process, which is clearly stated through this section of the draft. In UPPO’s written submission, UPPO recommend an independent administrative procedure of handling disputes of determined holder liability as a mechanism to balance interests of holders and state administrators.


Keep in mind nothing in the draft is final. This weekend’s meeting will help the reporter and drafting committee gather additional information and commentary to assist in crafting an improved version. To ensure the holder community and UPPO members are heard, UPPO has appointed government relations and advocacy committee Co-Chair Kendall Houghton and UPPO President Debbie Zumoff to serve as UPPO's spokespersons.


Following the drafting committee meeting, UPPO will provide updated information regarding the discussion and the expected next steps.


If you have questions, contact Toni Nuernberg, executive director at 763-253-4344 or
toni@uppo.org.

 

More Information

Tags:  advocacy  reform  ULC  unclaimed property  Uniform Unclaimed Property Act  UPPO 

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Who is the ULC?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Besides having authored the past versions of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (UUPA), and currently working to redraft the UUPA, what do you know about the Uniform Law Commission (ULC)? This nonpartisan, volunteer membership organization has been working to bring uniformity to law when desirable and practical since 1892.  

Membership to the ULC is rather exclusive. To serve as a ULC commissioner you must be an attorney and have been selected to serve by an appointing authority. Each jurisdiction has discretion in choosing the method in which commissioners are selected, and the number of commissioners needed to represent their state at the ULC. Most states allow the governor to appoint the state’s commissioners to serve. 

History of ULC
The American Bar Association (ABA) was the guiding force in establishing the ULC. In 1881, the Alabama Bar Association took action and formed a state-wide committee to identify and bring issues that spanned state borders, to other state bar associations for consideration. After hearing the interest voiced by several other states for a formal entity responsible for uniform laws, the ABA formed the Special Committee on Uniformity of State Legislation to study the feasibility and desire for greater uniformity among all state bar associations. In 1892, the ULC held its first national meeting and has since welcomed commissioners from each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Selecting the Issues
According to the ULC the organization has produced more than 300 uniform acts since its formation.  Issues range from real estate, family and domestic law, commercial law, and many others. With its willingness to take on a variety of issues, the ULC Committee on Scope and Program accept proposals for consideration. After reviewing the proposed issues, they make recommendations to the ULC’s executive committee to make final determinations and establish a drafting committee to create a uniform law. The formulation of the most recent drafting committee to revise the UUPA came after the ABA submitted a proposal to the ULC Committee on Scope and Program.

Drafting Process
Drafting committees are created for each issue the ULC takes up and consists of a reporter (aka drafter), advisor(s) from the ABA, and observers from interested stakeholder organizations. The drafting committee to revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (drafting committee) is comprised of 12 ULC members, four ABA advisors, two state administrator advisors, and two staff liaisons. 

The ULC’s drafting method resembles that of a legislative drafting, comprised of extensive discussion, compromise, and stakeholder input. Unclaimed property stakeholders have paid notable attention to the most recent effort to redraft the UUPA, and submitted over 1,700 pages of comments before the November 2014 meeting. It’s anticipated that the final draft of the UUPA will be ready in 2016. 

UPPO is looking forward to seeing how the ULC works through the complexities of unclaimed property to achieve a modern and fair document.  If you want to learn more about the redraft of the UUPA, make sure to attend the sessions slotted in the advocacy track of the 2015 UPPO Annual Conference, March 8 – 11; Orlando, Fla. We’ve lined up four sessions that will introduce you to recent developments of the drafting committee, explore specific issues of interest that the ULC is taking up, while providing you with the opportunity to engage with ULC commissioners and reform thought leaders.

More resources
A comprehensive history of the ULC
Overview of the November 2014 ULC meeting

Tags:  unclaimed property  Uniform law commission  uniform unclaimed property act 

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