Missing Securities: Find Stocks, Bonds And Mutual Funds
The SEC estimates 3 million stockholders are entitled to abandoned stock worth $10 billion. Additionally, $500 million in lost stock dividends are not cashed each year. A wave of corporate mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, share spin-offs and name changes 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 de-mutualizations of major life insurance companies, including Metropolitan Life (MetLife), Prudential, John Hancock and others.
De-mutualization 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. Did a deceased relative invest in stocks, bonds or mutual funds? Are dividend checks and bond interest payments missing? Were stock certificates lost or destroyed? In most cases they can be replaced.