Friday Lost + Found: California’s Audit Haul, Delaware Faces Threats, AARP Says “Open Your Mail”
California Unclaimed Property Audits Bring in Over $1B Per Year — The Lake Arrowhead, California Mountain News has an article about a recent speech given by California State Treasurer John Chiang. In addition to discussing the state budget, new technology initiatives, and “his perspective on the ‘American Dream,'” Treasurer Chiang gave some information relating to his time as the State Controller. As reported by Mountain News, Treasurer Chiang claimed that California’s unclaimed property program was “broken” when he took over as Controller, and that his focus on “high profile audits brought in $9.3 billion” during his time in office (or about $1.2 billion per year). To put that number into some perspective, $1.2 billion per year is more than the GDP of at at least 17 countries.
Delaware Online Chronicles Threats to Delaware’s Revenue — In Delaware Online there is an editorial by Harry Themal which outlines some of the “clouds on the horizon” with regard to Delaware’s future financial outlook. Along with many of the same problems that plague other states, the article specifically notes Delaware’s vulnerability to fluctuations in revenue from abandoned property and the possibility of future lawsuits (as suggested by Justice Alito’s comments in Taylor v. Yee). As Mr. Themal notes, “[e]scheat has netted Delaware half a billion dollars – an eighth of the budget – so court rulings could be deadly.”
AARP: “Open Your Mail!” — The AARP recently posted an article entitled “Abandoned Funds May be at Risk” which sounds the alarm over the speed and relative ease with which some states declare investment accounts and securities as “abandoned” property. While many investors favor a “buy and hold” or similar passive investment strategy, the article notes that investors need to stay in contact with financial institutions (and open their mail) to prevent funds from being deemed “abandoned.”