17 CFR § 240.17Ad-17 - Lost securityholders and unresponsive payees.
(1) Every recordkeeping transfer agent whose master securityholder file includes accounts of lost securityholders and every broker or dealer that has customer security accounts that include accounts of lost securityholders shall exercise reasonable care to ascertain the correct addresses of such securityholders. In exercising reasonable care to ascertain such lost securityholders' correct addresses, each such recordkeeping transfer agent and each such broker or dealer shall conduct two database searches using at least one information database service. The transfer agent, broker, or dealer shall search by taxpayer identification number or by name if a search based on taxpayer identification number is not reasonably likely to locate the securityholder. Such database searches must be conducted without charge to a lost securityholder and with the following frequency:
(i) Between three and twelve months of such securityholder becoming a lost securityholder; and
(ii) Between six and twelve months after the first search for such lost securityholder by the transfer agent, broker, or dealer.
(2) A transfer agent, broker, or dealer may not use a search method or service to establish contact with lost securityholders that results in a charge to a lost securityholder prior to completing the searches set forth in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
(3) A transfer agent, broker, or dealer need not conduct the searches set forth in paragraph (a)(1) of this section for a lost securityholder if:
(i) It has received documentation that such securityholder is deceased; or
(ii) The aggregate value of assets listed in the lost securityholder's account, including all dividend, interest, and other payments due to the lost securityholder and all securities owned by the lost securityholder as recorded in the master securityholder files of the transfer agent or in the customer security account records of the broker or dealer, is less than $25; or
(iii) The securityholder is not a natural person.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) Information data base service means either:
(i) Any automated data base service that contains addresses from the entire United States geographic area, contains the names of at least 50% of the United States adult population, is indexed by taxpayer identification number or name, and is updated at least four times a year; or
(ii) Any service or combination of services which produces results comparable to those of the service described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section in locating lost securityholders.
(2) Lost securityholder means a securityholder:
(i) To whom an item of correspondence that was sent to the securityholder at the address contained in the transfer agent's master securityholder file or customer security account records of the broker or dealer has been returned as undeliverable; provided, however, that if such item is re-sent within one month to the lost securityholder, the transfer agent, broker, or dealer may deem the securityholder to be a lost securityholder as of the day the resent item is returned as undeliverable; and
(ii) For whom the transfer agent, broker, or dealer has not received information regarding the securityholder's new address.
(1) The paying agent, as defined in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, shall provide not less than one written notification to each unresponsive payee, as defined in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, stating that such unresponsive payee has been sent a check that has not yet been negotiated. Such notification may be sent with a check or other mailing subsequently sent to the unresponsive payee but must be provided no later than seven (7) months (or 210 days) after the sending of the not yet negotiated check. The paying agent shall not be required to send a written notice to an unresponsive payee if such unresponsive payee would be considered a lost securityholder by a transfer agent, broker, or dealer.
(2) The term paying agent shall include any issuer, transfer agent, broker, dealer, investment adviser, indenture trustee, custodian, or any other person that accepts payments from the issuer of a security and distributes the payments to the holders of the security.
(3) A securityholder shall be considered an unresponsive payee if a check is sent to the securityholder by the paying agent and the check is not negotiated before the earlier of the paying agent's sending the next regularly scheduled check or the elapsing of six (6) months (or 180 days) after the sending of the not yet negotiated check. A securityholder shall no longer be considered an unresponsive payee when the securityholder negotiates the check or checks that caused the securityholder to be considered an unresponsive payee.
(4) A paying agent shall be excluded from the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section where the value of the not yet negotiated check is less than $25.
(5) The requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section shall have no effect on state escheatment laws.
(d) Every recordkeeping transfer agent, every broker or dealer that has customer security accounts, and every paying agent shall maintain records to demonstrate compliance with the requirements set forth in this section, which records shall include written procedures that describe the transfer agent's, broker's, dealer's, or paying agent's methodology for complying with this section, and shall retain such records in accordance with Rule 17Ad–7(i) (§ 240.17Ad–7(i)).