Michael Koester

Director of Research and Recovery

One of the most overlooked aspects of unclaimed property, in my opinion, is having in place quality procedures to minimize losing your owners. Yes.  It is much easier to follow the due diligence requirements and escheat in a timely manner but from the owner’s point of view, if the holder does a little more research, then the owner retains his property instead of having to go to the state if at all.

I get very frustrated sitting in sessions at conferences where holders discuss when escheatment cycles re-start or how to quicken the abandonment process. In my head, I am screaming “Find the owner!!!”  I understand it takes man hours that takes employees away from their usual work but there are some easy and low cost ways to do it internally and externally.

Internally, holders can cross-reference accounts under the same social with more vigilance. I know of one large broker-dealer that does not change the address on the main house holding account but on subsidiary accounts only.  So many people have multiple accounts at banks, but quite often the owner will change the address on one account and the bank does not change it across the board.

Externally, companies like Dunbar offer a low cost or no cost search service for owners. We are experts at locating owners.  Our team has been doing it for over 30 years.  We can institute a bi-annual or quarterly search process that would work seamlessly with your escheatment process.