September 27, 2007 07:15 ET

SMS Group and Vanacore International Announce a Transaction for New Innovation and Growth in the Unclaimed Property Services Market

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - September 27, 2007) - SMS Group, LLC (SMS) and Vanacore International Shareholder Services (VISS), leaders in the unclaimed property and owner location services industry, have announced a transaction which will combine two of the top firms in the marketplace and further solidify their strong presence in the major banking and financial centers on both the East and West coasts. SMS, based in New York City, specializes in search and compliance in the stock and retail financial service arenas. VISS, based in Sacramento, California, is a leading provider of lost shareholder services to the mutual fund industry.

The immediate benefits to clients include coast-to-coast offices -- unique in the industry -- and a pooling of expert resources and leading edge technology. This will ensure that challenges in the fast-changing market and regulatory environment for unclaimed property can continue to be met internally, of key importance to clients and the privacy of their shareholder and customer information.

SMS and VISS were pioneers in creating fully customized owner outreach programs for clients -- resulting in increased response rates and faster processing -- now becoming standard in the industry. Derek Vanacore, CEO for VISS, sums it up simply: "When you approach a 'missing owner' with respect and integrity, it reflects well on the client. The similar philosophies between SMS and VISS are one reason why we have been 'friendly competitors' for so long. Clients have often said it is tough to choose between us. Now, we've simplified that choice!"

"It is a natural partnership that creates one company with long standing tenure and expertise for our clients and new growth opportunities within the unclaimed property industry, which we are excited about creating together. We are just at the tip of the iceberg in discovering the long-term potential," says Nick Nichols, Director of Sales and Client Services for SMS.

Recent innovations include: A risk-mitigation program, "RISC", featuring advanced analysis and research capabilities to help clients identify potential risks on customer accounts; and, "SafeBox Solutions" valuation and auction services for abandoned safe deposit box contents.

The combined companies will operate under a co-branding arrangement to acknowledge and leverage the considerable equities of both names within the industry. All principals of SMS and VISS will remain with the new entity. Key sales, customer service and operations functions are already working together for a smooth transition into a single-source "Unclaimed Property Solution" with unique and proprietary global search and resolution capabilities.

"This will take customer service, economic efficiencies and options for our clients to a new level, while allowing us to focus additional personal time and attention on the customized projects and programs that are key to the long-term relationships we both enjoy with financial and corporate leaders," says Nichols. "In this high-tech age, many companies are consolidating locations, but we are looking forward to geographic growth. It will make the hands-on approach that is our shared style even easier. VISS will be closer to their East Coast-based mutual fund clients. For SMS, Sacramento is an ideal location for current and future West Coast business."

Vanacore concludes, "There are so many positives with this collaboration: bringing strong teams together, additional expertise in client services and compliance, a broadened portfolio and an increased competitive edge, with a great vision for the future. I am looking forward to watching this powerhouse group of people make a mark with the many unclaimed property services we will offer."

Financial details of the arrangement were undisclosed. Other details of the transaction and contact information can be found on a joint website:, or visit or

SMS Group, LLC and Vanacore International Shareholder Services provide customized approaches for clients to simplify unclaimed property processes including owner and beneficiary location, compliance, mailings and state reporting. The combined expertise represents decades of industry experience, and hundreds of millions of dollars of unclaimed assets restored to owners or recovered for clients.

Contact Information

    Nick Nichols
    SMS Group, LLC
    New York, NY
    Phone: (212) 764-6800
    Email Contact