EQ Unify combines Lost Shareholder SEC Search, Enhanced Asset Location and Unexchanged Shareholder Program.
Today, EQ announced the establishment of EQ Unify, an affiliate, to manage all asset reunification services for EQ clients, effective immediately. In addition to satisfying regulatory requirements mandated by the SEC for transfer agent clients, the new group will conduct Enhanced Asset Location services to better protect its issuer clients and their shareholders from the increasing risks of escheatment, non-compliance and potential fraud. EQ Unify has revamped, enhanced and combined deep search and pre-escheat location into a single service, Enhanced Asset Location.
"EQ Unify was formed to protect our clients and their shareholders' assets and uphold compliance with constantly changing escheatment regulations," says Todd May, CEO at EQ. “By combining these services and offering them in-house as a matter of course to all our clients, we can strengthen their position and keep them in better health overall with regards to escheatment and fraud."
EQ Unify spent the past year developing a proprietary system that integrates directly with EQ systems to support its asset reunification services. Melissa McCarthy, VP of Product Management at EQ, adds, "By bringing this specialized service in-house, we can provide enhanced data security protections as well as analysis opportunities that will better protect our clients and their shareholders."
In August 2019, EQ Unify began performing required Lost Shareholder SEC Searches (SEC 17AD-17) and in-depth research on deceased, foreign accounts and corporations, which are exempted from the SEC search. With today's announcement, EQ expands its Enhanced Asset Location services to include dormant accounts at the address of record. EQ Unify will also manage Unexchanged Shareholder Programs as needed for clients following a merger or acquisition, as well as Oddlot Programs.
EQ Unify is located in Pennsylvania and staffed by a group of subject matter experts in the field of unclaimed property. Operational support is provided by a dedicated team at EQ's Milwaukee Customer Care Center.
About Escheatment and Asset Reunification Services
Escheatment is the process by which unclaimed property of any kind is turned over to the state. When a shareholder falls out of contact, moves without changing their address or dies without a beneficiary on record, their account (in this case, shares and cash) is at risk of escheatment. The Securities and Exchange Commission (regulation SEC 17Ad-17) requires only that the issuer make a reasonable effort to locate the missing shareholder or rightful owner. Over time, this has been interpreted to mean conducting at least two Lost Shareholder database searches. Failure to identify and turn over unclaimed assets in compliance with state laws, however, results in costly penalties for the company and can lead to an audit. To protect themselves and their shareholders, issuers employ various levels of asset reunification services beyond the mandated searches. They may contract with their transfer agent or outsource this service.
EQ provides shareholder services to many of America’s leading companies, helping them with record keeping, dividend payments, plan administration, communications and corporate actions. As transfer agent to 1,477 corporations and 22% of the S&P 500, we support more than 5 million active U.S. shareholders.
We are the part of Equiniti Group, listed on the London Stock Exchange, a global provider of financial solutions which helps businesses operate more effectively and connects people with their financial future. Our global team is more than 5,000 strong and comprised of 750 specialists in the delivery of transfer agent services and more than 1,000 technology professionals. Together, we are responsible for delivering services to some of the world’s most well recognized brands and 29 million of their customers.