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My dad recently went through their safe deposit box and found a paper certificate for 4 shares in Northern States Power Company, issued in 1988. In 1998, NSP and New Century Energies of Denver merged to create Xcel Energy.

Before the merger, the company provided an annual dividend to shareholders. I don't know whether we ever received these, or if we were receiving them at one point and an address possibly never got updated when we moved.

This was purchased when I was a child, so the document lists my dad as the custodian for me, though I don't know whose SSN was used. Specifically, the name on the certificate is:

< Dad's name > CUST < My name >
UNIF GIFT MIN ACT WISC

I assume the second line refers to the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, in Wisconsin.

I have a few questions:

  • How do I go about determining the value of this stock?
  • How do I go about either selling this stock or transferring it to my existing portfolio? Will I have to go through any extra steps since I was a minor at the time of purchase?
  • Will I be due the missing dividends somehow, or is it likely a lost cause?

Update:

Just stumbled on this question and figured I'd add an update. I did contact the Shareholder Services and sent them the stock certificates to research the status of them. I got a response back stating that "the certificates were reported lost and surrendered on 3/9/07 by the prior agent, BNY/Mellon/Computershare." Unfortunately this means that they confiscated and destroyed the original certificates I sent them, so this was overall unsuccessful :(

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    After the paper certificates were issued you should have been getting dividend checks. Which social security number was used on the custodial account: yours or dad's? Also have you moved from when the stock certificates were first issued and did your parents update the company/custodian bank? Jan 5, 2018 at 3:32
  • @MorrisonChang that raises a further question; if dividend checks are never cashed, what happens to the shareholder's entitlement to that dividend?
    – Tom W
    Jan 5, 2018 at 10:06
  • @MorrisonChang We have definitely changed addresses since then. I don't know whether my parents updated the address with the bank, or which SSN was used on the account. Right now all I have is an email from my dad saying "Look what I found!" and a scan of the stock certificate. I added some more details to the question about what's on the certificate.
    – David K
    Jan 5, 2018 at 12:51
  • What did they exactly mean by "lost and surrendered"? It suggests that someone reported them lost and got given replacements, but surely if that was the case you would either have the replacements or you/your Dad would remember selling them? Jul 19, 2021 at 18:45
  • @GS-ApologisetoMonica Not exactly sure. Your guess that they were replaced could be possible. There were a number of paper stocks that my dad thought he had sold years ago, until he found these couple certificates. Maybe at some point he got them replaced and just forgot about it (which wouldn't entirely surprise me).
    – David K
    Jul 19, 2021 at 19:06

3 Answers 3

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I can help with the first part of your answer:

Since 1988 the following stock splits have occurred on XEL (formerly NSP): exdate 1998-06-02 2:1 stock split So this must be taken into account. You probably own 8 shares now.

Regarding dividends, XEL has been paying quarterly dividends since it listed. The value of those dividends per share from 19980602 until now $22.25 From 1988010 until 19980601 the total dividends per share is $25.605

If the dividends were never paid to you, you are therefore owed 8*$22.25 + 4*25.605 = $280.42

As at 20180104, XEL last traded at $47.12. If you own 8 shares this means the current market value is $376.96

More dividend data can be found here: http://investors.xcelenergy.com/Dividends

Given Xcel Energy this has been an S&P 500 company since the S&P 500 started, I'm sure they've encountered this situation before.

You should contact Xcel Energy's Investor Relations to determine what to do next: http://investors.xcelenergy.com/ (it appears that Xcel have outsourced their Invesotr Relations to Wells Fargo Shareowner Services ph 1-877-778-6786, so that might be your best bet).

Make sure you report back here and let us know the outcome.

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    This appears to be the correct answer, thanks! According to the Historical Information linked within the Investor Relations page Simon provided, calling the Wells Fargo number you listed is exactly what I should do. It may be a couple months before I get my hands on the paper certificate, but I will certainly report back once everything is sorted out!
    – David K
    Jan 5, 2018 at 15:26
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According to the company's web site, Investor Relations, they use Wells Fargo Shareowner Services to handle their shareholder relations (most large companies out-source this). Try contacting Wells Fargo, with the share details, to see what they can do. They may even send you a back-payment of your dividends.

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My thought was that given the small number of shares, the dividend would also have been a small amount and would have gotten lost/forgotten in a move.

Having the SSN on the account will help with Xcel Energy Investor Relations, share transfer, and dividend recovery.

To transfer the shares into your name, you'll need a Signature Guarantee which can be done at your local bank branch once you have the physical shares, and proof that you are over 18/21.

Unclaimed dividends would have been sent to the last registered state's unclaimed funds. So if your parents did update the custodial bank you'll have to look at that state and any other state as well. Fortunately most/all? states have a online unclaimed funds page for searching.

Since Wisconsin is on the title, you can try to see if your name or your father's name shows up here. Don't forget to try out variations on the full certificate title in the search fields.

https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/UnclaimedProperty/Home.aspx

Good luck.

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