Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Jersey Gift Card Repeal Legislation Continues Progress

When we last left the New Jersey Gift Card Saga, the New Jersey State Assembly had passed a bill that would effectively undo the 2010 gift card legislation by removing "stored value cards" from the scope of New Jersey's Unclaimed Property Act.  In addition, the proposed legislation would (re)extend the dormancy periods for travelers' checks and money orders to 15 and 7 years, respectively. 

After passing the Assembly, the bill was forwarded to the State Senate, where it was referred to the budget committee.  Recently, the Senate Budget Committee likewise passed the bill.  Just in case you were wondering, it is unlikely that the Governor will support the bill (although that will not necessarily stop it from passing).  Earlier last month, the Governor told a group of reporters that if "If they [the gift card issuers] want to move out, move out. It’s their call."  We will continue to follow the legislation.

Monday, May 14, 2012

WSJ Article on "Inactivity" Standard for Brokerage Accounts

Today's Wall Street Journal has a good summary article (link at bottom) about the controversy surrounding the states' move to using an "inactivity" standard for brokerage accounts.

In many states, brokerage and other securities accounts are subject to abandonment on a "returned mail" basis, meaning that, regardless of owner activity, the dormancy period for such accounts did not begin to run unless the holder started receiving account statements or other correspondence returned as undeliverable by the post office. And with good reason: for years, a significant amount of financial press and advice has advocated a "buy and hold" strategy, which specifically contemplates significant periods of little to no activity by the account owner.

In their never ending quest to bring more funds under state control, however, the states have not remained dormant on the "returned mail" standard. Instead, Delaware and other states are trying to move to a standard based upon "activity.". Under this standard, an account will be deemed abandoned if the customer does not engage in a transaction during the 3 to 5 year dormancy period. Accordingly, investors using a buy-and-hold strategy should make sure to correspond frequently with her brokerage firms If they don't, they might find out that although they are doing the buying, the state is doing the holding.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304451104577390341489050090.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Monday, May 7, 2012

Upcoming Events: UPPO Holders Seminar on July 16-17

The Unclaimed Property Professionals' Organization, the premiere trade group for holders of unclaimed property is holding its next Holders' Seminar on July 16-17 in Seattle, Washington.  The Holders' Seminar features a wealth of information on unclaimed property topics, and features both "beginner" and "intermediate" educational tracks.  More information can be found on the UPPO website, here.