Policy Patty Toolkit 

Making the world a little more compliant one toolkit at a time.



Posted on March 13, 2018 at 8:00 AM

FINRA issued an Investor Alert advising on measures to take with regard to lost or unclaimed property.

In sum, these measures include:

Shorter Dormancy Periods

  • Many states have shortened their dormancy period with the majority of states have cut their dormancy period to three years.
  • The dormancy "clock" may start ticking when either mail from your financial institution is returned as undeliverable or when you fail to contact your financial institution for the dormancy period

Lost Property Process—What You Should Know

  • Each state has different unclaimed property laws that require financial institutions and other organizations to remit lost or abandoned property to the appropriate state authority.
  • Depending on its laws, a state might have full use of any unclaimed property until and unless the owner steps forward to claim it. 
  • Before transferring assets to the state, an institution must make a good faith effort to contact the property holder.

Tips to Hold on to Your Property

  • Notify your financial institutions of any changes to your contact information, including email and snail mail addresses. Do so even if you primarily view your account information online. Call your firm if you fail to receive account statements or other information you normally receive.
  • Take action if you receive any calls asking that you update your mailing address, email address or other contact information. To guard against identity theft, you might prefer to thank the caller and then contact the institution on your own to verify that it requested the update.
  • Consider consolidating small accounts to reduce management tasks and to limit your chances of forgetting an account.
  • Check in with your financial institutions at least once each year by phone, email or in person.
  • Periodically check the unclaimed property database of the state you currently live in and any states where you once lived.
  • Check the unclaimed property listings for the states of Delaware, Massachusetts and Maryland, where many financial firms are registered. Note: Some dormant accounts may be listed at the firm's address instead of the account holders.
  • Be attentive to mailings from institutions with which you may not be familiar. Financial firms are rebranded, bought, sold or go out of business on a regular basis.
  • Be open to the possibility that you might also be contacted by a firm handling the affairs of relative or acquaintance. You might be the recipient of their bequest without realizing you were included in their will or estate.
  • Contact your financial institution to determine how it interprets the laws in your state. For instance, ask how your institution handles automatic contributions. Some states do not count regular automatic account deposits or withdrawals as active management.

Make sure to keep a list of all your accounts and update it regularly. 

Read More:

Categories: General