3. Where is my stock? (And what happened to my options?)
This page is one step of our Stock Recovery Process. Operated by volunteers. Not officially endorsed or supported. There is a link to the next step at the end of this page. If you haven't gone through the previous steps to determine which of six HP-related stocks you should have, start here: Employee Stock
(Updated Apr 23, 2022.) Website operated by volunteers. Not officially endorsed or supported. Comments: email@example.com
Members report that brokerages, plan administrators, and transfer agents vary (sometimes dramatically) in how (or if) they make gain/loss and cost basis calculations and in what they report to the IRS. Each of hundreds of firms is expected to read SEC filings, analyze Corporate Action Notices, and update the records they maintain on behalf of their clients.
If you don't have good records -- or did not input your lot-and-cost information into your broker's system -- you can use our spreadsheet to estimate your cost basis for each HP-related stock for any span of HP employment from 7/1/1959 through the 11/1/2000 plan changeover. hpalumni.org/StockSpread
Finding your stock
If you received a letter from Social Security entitled "Potential Private Retirement Benefit." Look at the "Year Reported" and the table on the back of the letter. If "Type of Benefit" is "A" -- you rolled to a different plan, bought an annuity, or took cash. How to decode and what to do: https://www.hpalumni.org/PotentialBenefitLetter.
No one but you really cares about your employment-related stock. Employers pay specialized companies to administer employee stock and options. (HP-related companies have used at least 13 U.S. stock administrators.) As with any property you own, you are expected to keep records.
Your employee-related stock may be held in your name by the company's stock 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 stock brokerage you pay yourself.
Given the spinoffs over the years (Agilent, Keysight, HPE, DXC, Micro Focus, and Perspecta) -- and the number of stock transfer agents and plan administrators involved (not to mention any stock brokerages that you may have used) -- it is very possible that your employee stock is not 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 a plan administrator or stock brokerage may turn stock over to a state government as unclaimed property -- which can be very difficult to retrieve. (Checking your accounts online every month does not prevent this.)
If you moved your stock to a brokerage 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.
Different divisions of the same financial companies -- Fidelity, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, etc. -- have performed stock 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.
A company's stock 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.) There are 1.08 billion HPQ shares outstanding.
- 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. When a company changes transfer agents, the old one passes current shareholding data along to the next one. Unclear if the detailed cost-basis quarter-by-quarter purchase records are also passed on.
- After you leave the company, those shares will stay with the transfer agent -- at no charge to you. You may move the shares to a personal account you pay for at a stock brokerage -- which provides more flexibility in selling shares.
- Spinoff shares will be in a new direct-registration account administered by the new company's stock transfer agent, as listed below.
- HPAA member advice on obtaining stock records
Company Stock transfer agents as of Dec 2021:
- HP Inc. Current stock transfer
is Equiniti Shareowner Services
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company
(HPE) Current stock transfer agent
is Equiniti Trust Company.
- DXC Stock. Go to DXC Investor Relations
- Agilent. Go to Agilent Stock FAQ
- Keysight. Go to Keysight Stock FAQ
- Perspecta. Stock transfer agent for Perspecta (and Distribution Agent for the spinoff and merger) was Equiniti Perspecta spinoff.
Details on what a stock transfer agent does: transfer agent Overview (pdf on Computershare site.)
A plan administrator for one of a company's employee benefit plans
An employer generally hires different plan administrators for stock acquired in different ways, such as employee purchase, options or equity awards, or retirement plan.
- Your points of contact are the various plan administrators, not the company or the company's stock 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 plan administrators.
- After leaving, your shares are generally automatically moved from an employer-paid account -- such as the "NetBenefits" division of Fidelity or the "MyBenefits" division of Merrill Lynch -- to a personal account at a different division of the same financial conglomerate. See details below under "After leaving a company."
- Spinoff shares should show up in your account at each plan administrator.
- Stock options have an expiration date and a vesting schedule, as specified in the original Option Grant document. If not vested or not exercised by that date, stock options expire. Investopedia article
- Non-U.S. employees may have shares at Morgan Stanley's "StockPlan Connect." Statements for non-U.S. employee accounts are mailed from Columbus, Ohio. Login FAQ Non-U.S. plan participants may not have a Morgan Stanley "Global ID" number -- not the same as your Account Number: Morgan Stanley issues reported by members
- Former employee contacts for all countries HP Worldwide External HR Support
a. Employee stock purchase plan. Shares purchased and held are administered by the company's ESPP Plan administrator.
As of September 2, 2018:
- HP: Current U.S. 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 HPAA on obtaining stock records Fidelity stock issues reported by members
- HPE: Current U.S. ESPP administrator is the NetBenefits division of Fidelity. Check both official pages: HPE Employee Stock (Scroll down.) HPE Total Rewards [Wells Fargo Shareowner Services is now Equiniti Shareowneronline.] Fidelity stock issues reported by members
- Agilent: Current ESPP administrator TBD
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.
Note: If you have vested options, they are of no value unless you take action to exercise the options before the options expire (if the option price is above the current stock price.) The Investopedia website has a detailed explanation of how stock options work: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/eso.asp
- HP: Current U.S. Stock Award Administrator is the MyBenefits division of Merrill Lynch. Check both official pages for worldwide phone numbers and website: HP Employee Stock (Scroll down.) HP Total Rewards Merrill Lynch issues reported by members
- HPE: Current U.S. Stock Award Administrator is the MyBenefits division of Merrill Lynch. Check both official pages for worldwide phone numbers and website: HPE Employee Stock (Scroll down.) HPE Total Rewards Merrill Lynch issues reported by members
See also: Stock options How they work. How they expire. Tax issues.
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, including Indigo, Mercury, Opsware, and Peregrine: Predecessor company stock
Your own account at a brokerage
Indirect registration at a stock brokerage that you have selected. You are a "beneficial owner" of those shares in an account at a brokerage, trustee, or other nominee.
- Your point of contact is the stock brokerage, not the company. The company's transfer agent knows only the grand total holding by all clients of the brokerage.
- Dividend payments and stockholder communications are sent to you at the address on file with the brokerage.
- 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 stock brokerage called "Wells Fargo Advisors."
- Spinoff shares should show up in the same brokerage account as the corresponding parent shares.
- If you moved your stock to a stock brokerage 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. Fidelity has an online process to enter purchase lots and cost for each lot. Members report successfully doing this years later. https://www.fidelity.com/customer-service/how-to-change-your-cost-basis-info Unknown if other brokerages offer this feature.
- General issues reported by members with specific plan administrators and stock brokerages: Merrill Lynch issues reported by members Morgan Stanley issues reported by members Fidelity stock issues reported by members
Obtaining stock records
Member advice on How to obtain stock records
After leaving a company:
- After leaving, your shares are generally automatically moved from an employer-paid account -- such as the "NetBenefits" division of Fidelity or the "MyBenefits" division of Merrill Lynch -- to a personal account at a different division of the same financial conglomerate. (Merrill Lynch calls the two accounts "Employer Sponsored Plan" and "Individual Investor Account.") The new account will use a different website, login, and account number. Since your employer is no longer paying for the account, you will probably be billed an annual fee (which may be higher than you might expect.) 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, the shares of each company will be moved in a single lot -- you will have to use your own records to enter date and purchase price for each lot into the second broker's system.
- No one but you really cares about your employment-related stock. Your former employer does not have records of the date, quantity, and cost basis of your shares -- and the current plan administrators and stock brokerages may not have the correct values.
- You must keep each stock brokerage 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 brokerage and administrator at least once a year. Otherwise, depending on state laws and the brokerage or administrator's policies, members report that your stock may be turned over to a state as unclaimed property -- which can be very difficult to retrieve. Checking your statements 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 brokerage 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 very possible that your employee stock is not all in one place. For example, spinoff shares don't always all wind up in the same place as the parent shares. How to check for lost stock, dividends, and other unclaimed property
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 stock 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.)
If formerly a regular, direct U.S. employee of HP or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join the HP Alumni Association. No charge, thanks to HPAA's Supporting Members.
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