Missing Securities: Find Unclaimed Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds
SEC estimates 3 million lost stockholders are entitled to unclaimed stock and mutual funds worth $10 billion. Additionally, $500 million in stock dividends and bond interest payments are not cashed each year. A wave of corporate mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, share spin-offs and company name changes has dramatically increased the amount of lost stock and unclaimed dividends.
Stock can be registered in the name of the owner, the “shareholder of record,” or it can be registered in “street name,” the name of your stock broker. Shareholders of record receive distributions and official correspondence directly from the company or transfer agent. Beneficial owners – those whose shares are held in street name – have dividends and interest payments sent to a bank or broker.
If stock or mutual fund shares were owned by a deceased family member, you may never receive notice of unclaimed funds. Did a deceased relative invest in stocks, bonds or mutual funds? Were stock certificates lost or destroyed? In most cases they can be replaced. Even if a stock or mutual fund is no longer listed on an exchange do not assume it’s worthless – shares may still have significant value, even if a company filed bankruptcy.
Also, if you’re a stockholder in a company that merged or was acquired, you may be entitled to collect spin-off shares or cash distributions from the restructuring, even if shares were sold long ago. Former owners of AT&T, for example, may be eligible to receive shares in nearly a dozen other companies.
Perhaps the largest source of unclaimed stock over the last several years has resulted from the recent demutualization of major life insurance companies, including Metropolitan Life (MetLife), Mutual of New York, Equitable, Principal, Prudential, John Hancock and others.
To search for unclaimed stock and dividends, bonds or mutual funds – complete the form below.