Missing Stocks & Bonds - Lost Mutual Fund Shares - Unclaimed Dividends
|The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)
estimates 3 million missing stockholders are entitled to unclaimed stock
worth $10 billion. Additionally, $500 million in stock dividends and
bond interest payments are not cashed each year. A wave of corporate
mergers and restructurings has dramatically increased the amount of lost
stock and unclaimed dividends.
If you're a stockholder in a company that merged or was acquired, you may be entitled to collect spin-off shares, cash distributions or dividends 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 demutualizations of major life insurance companies, including Metropolitan Life (MetLife), Prudential, MONY, John Hancock and others. Demutualization is the process of converting a mutual life insurance company, which is owned by its policyholders, into a publicly traded stock company owned by shareholders. Millions of policyholders and heirs aren't aware they are entitled to claim billions in demutualization compensation.
Did a deceased relative invest in stocks or bonds? Were stock certificates lost or destroyed? In most cases they can be replaced. 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.
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 for bankruptcy.
To search for unclaimed stock, a lost bond or missing mutual fund shares, and to trace uncashed interest payments and dividends that may be owed after a merger, restructuring, demutualization or other reorganization, order our Special Report: Unclaimed Stock Search
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