Step 2. Where's my stock? (Updated May 23, 2018.) Questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mutual help for those who acquired stock via employment at Hewlett-Packard, HP Inc, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Compaq, EDS, or other HP predecessor companies.
Other stockholders should contact the companies directly.
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This is an intermediate step in our step-by-step process to help you find all your stock, protect it from being treated as abandoned property, and prevent double taxation. Start the process at Employee Stock
Finding your stock
Employers do not keep track of your stock and options -- they pay specialized companies to track and administer them, which change from time to time. (HP-related companies have used at least 13.)
Given the spinoffs over the years (Agilent, Keysight, HPE, HPI, DXC, Micro Focus, and Perspecta) -- and the number of administrators, brokers, and transfer agents -- it is unlikely that your employee stock is all in one place. For example, spinoff shares don't always all wind up in the same place as the parent shares.
Members report that an administrator or broker may turn stock over to a state government as abandoned property -- which can be very difficult to retrieve. (Checking your account online every month does not prevent this.)
If you moved your stock to a broker other than one used by the company, date and cost basis for each lot will have been lost unless you made a special effort to input your cost basis for each lot.
Your employee-related stock may be held in your name by the company's Transfer Agent, or in various employee benefit plans -- each of which is managed by a Plan Administrator hired by the company -- or your shares may be held by a Broker you pay for yourself.
Different divisions of the same financial companies -- Fidelity, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, etc. -- have performed Transfer Agent or Plan Administrator roles at various times for the HP-related companies. This affects how (or if) they track your cost-basis information, how they handle spinoffs, and how (or if) they report transactions in your account to the IRS.
As detailed below, you need to look closely at the full legal name given on the statement for each account to determine the role that the specific account plays in your shareholdings.
1. A company's transfer agent
Every company that issues stock has a Stock Transfer Agent that the company pays to keep track of all the shares. If you have shares in "Direct Registration" -- you are a "stockholder of record" with the company's Transfer Agent. The agent's name will include words like "trust" or "shareowner."
- Shares are registered in your name in book-entry form at the Transfer Agent. (In the past, you may have been mailed paper certificates.)
- Your point of contact is the Transfer Agent, not the company. Dividend payments and stockholder communications are sent to you at the address on file with the Transfer Agent. The company will not update that address for you.
- The Transfer Agent has limited lot and cost-basis data.
- After you leave the company, the shares will stay with the Transfer Agent -- at no charge to you. You may move the shares to a personal account at a broker -- which provides more flexibility in selling shares.
- Spinoff shares will be in a new direct-registration account administered by the new company's Transfer Agent, as listed below.
As of May 23, 2018:
- Transfer agent for HP Inc, HPE, and DXC is currently Equiniti (formerly the "Shareowner Services" division of Wells Fargo, which still has a separate local-office-based retail brokerage division called "Wells Fargo Advisors.") Long-time HP employees will have old statements from HP's previous transfer agents: Harris Trust, Computershare, and Mellon, then Computershare again because Computershare bought Mellon. Obtaining Stock Records
- Transfer agent for Perspecta is EQ Shareowner Services. (Equiniti was formerly the "Shareowner Services" division of Wells Fargo.) Perspecta spinoff.
2. An administrator for one of a company's employee benefit plans
An employer often has different Plan Administrators for stock acquired in different ways, such as employee purchase, options or equity awards, or retirement plan.
- Shares are held in your name in book-entry form (not certificates.)
- Your points of contact are the various Plan Administrators, not the company or the company's Transfer Agent. The company's Transfer Agent knows only the grand total holding by all clients of each Plan Administrator.
- Dividend payments and stockholder communications are sent to you at the address on file with each plan administrator. Even if still employed by the company, the company may not update those addresses for you.
- Plan administrators have lot-and-cost records -- however, members report that the data may be lost when the company changes administrators.
- After you leave the company, the company stops paying administrators on your behalf. You will be charged an annual fee unless you move the shares to a personal account at your own broker..
- HPE indicates that Spinoff shares should show up in your account at each plan administrator.
a. Employee stock purchase plan. Shares purchased and held are administered by the company's ESPP Plan Administrator.
As of April 5, 2018:
- HP Inc: Current ESPP Administrator is the NetBenefits division of Fidelity. Prior to April 2015, the administrator was Computershare Shareowner Services. Check both official pages: HP Employee Stock (Scroll down.) HP Total Rewards Member advice on Obtaining Stock Records Fidelity stock issues reported by members
b. Stock options or other equity awards. Unvested and vested shares -- and spinoff shares for shares already vested -- are administered by the company's Stock Award Administrator.
- HP Inc: Current Stock Award Administrator is the MyBenefits division of Merrill Lynch. Check both official pages: HP Employee Stock (Scroll down.) HP Total Rewards Merrill Lynch issues reported by members
- HPE: Current Stock Award Administrator is the MyBenefits division of Merrill Lynch. Check both official pages: HPE Employee Stock (Scroll down.) HPE Total Rewards Merrill Lynch issues reported by members
c. Retirement plan. If you elected to have your retirement plan invest in stock of a current or former employer, the shares are administered by the company's Retirement Plan Administrator
As of April 5, 2018:
Other predecessor companies, such as Indigo, Mercury, Opsware, Peregrine, etc. Predecessor company stock
3. Your own broker
Indirect registration at your own broker. You are a "beneficial owner" of those shares in an account at a Broker, trustee, or other nominee.
- Your point of contact is the broker, not the company. The company's Transfer Agent knows only the grand total holding by all clients of the broker.
- Dividend payments and stockholder communications are sent to you at the address on file with the broker.
- After leaving, your shares are generally moved from an employer-paid account -- such as NetBenefits division of Fidelity or MyBenefits division of Merrill Lynch -- to a personal account at a different division of the same brokerage. Lot-and-cost data for your lots should have been preserved if you move between "benefits" and "retail" divisions of the same brokerage. If you move the shares to a different brokerage, you will have to use your own records to enter lot-and-cost values in the broker's system.
- Multiple roles played by different divisions of these financial companies can be confusing. For example, "Wells Fargo Shareowner Services" (now Equiniti) was a transfer agent -- a different company from the brokerage called "Wells Fargo Advisors."
- Spinoff shares should show up in the same brokerage account as the corresponding parent shares.
Obtaining stock records
Member advice on How to obtain stock records
After leaving a company:
- The default is that your shares are moved from an employer-paid account to a personal account -- that you pay for -- at a different division of the same brokerage, in which case date and price information for your employee-purchase lots should have been preserved in the move.
- If you elect to transfer your shares to a different broker, the shares will be moved in a single lot. The date and price information for your employee-purchase lots will be lost in the transfer -- unless you make special effort to transfer that information into the records of your new broker.
- Your former employer does not have records of the date, quantity, and cost basis of your shares -- and the current administrators and brokers may not have the correct values.
- You must keep each broker and administrator up-to-date with your current postal and email addresses. Your current or former employer does not handle employee-stock-related address changes.
- You must make direct contact with each broker and administrator at least once a year. Otherwise, depending on state laws and the broker or administrator's policies, members report that your stock may be turned over to a state as abandoned property -- which can be very difficult to retrieve. Members report that checking your brokerage statement online doesn't count.
- Given the large number of financial companies involved in employee stock -- which change from time to time and may not have passed along the date and cost basis information for each of our stock lots -- you must preserve your own copies of your records.
- At some point, you may want to sell some stock -- which could include shares in HP, HPE, Agilent, Keysight, DXC, Perspecta, and Micro Focus. The broker will use the cost basis in their records (which may be $0) to report your apparent profit to the IRS. You could pay taxes twice on the same income!
- It is unlikely that all of your stock is in one place -- you or your heirs could lose some of the stock or dividends as "abandoned." How to check for lost stock and dividends
Stray transactions due to spinoffs
In addition to the important transactions, members report receiving 1099-B forms for small amounts, 34-cent dividend checks, and other notifications of low-dollar-value stray transactions referring to either a temporary "SpinCo" company or the new spinoff company. These come from either the administrator of your existing employee shares or from the new company's transfer agent. (In the case of Micro Focus, the transfer agent is "American Stock Transfer.") If you get a trivial 1099-B, report it on your tax -- no matter how small. (Unlike 1099-INT's, there is no minimum reportable amount for a 1099-B.)
Next step: 3. Micro Focus tax issue
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