The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is putting the process used to record efforts to locate missing security holders up for a routine paperwork review.

The SEC has published the missing security holder information collection review notice today in the Federal Register.

The SEC is calling for public comments on Rule 17Ad-17 Transfer Agents’ Obligation to Search for Lost Securityholders; Rule 17Ad-17 Brokers and Dealers’ Obligation to Search for Lost Securityholders; and Rule 17Ad-17 Paying Agents’ Obligation to Notify Missing Securityholders.

The transfer agents’ rule requires about 508 registered transfer agents and about 5,000 broker-dealers to conduct searches using third party database vendors to attempt to locate lost security holders, SEC officials say.

“These recordkeeping requirements assist the commission and other regulatory agencies with monitoring transfer agents and ensuring compliance with the rule,” officials say.

Each transfer agent probably spends about 10 hours per year on the database searches, and each broker-dealer probably spends about 100 hours per year on the searches, officials estimate.

Each paying agent probably spends about 50 hours on searches, officials say.

Written comments are due in 60 days.

Unclaimed property operations have been in the news in the insurance industry in recent weeks because of states’ efforts to audit insurers’ efforts to locate policyholders who might be dead and the beneficiaries of any policyholders who have died.

- Allison Bell

Other unclaimed property coverage from National Underwriter Life & Health: