Providing service and support to film and television musicians.

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Company Policies

Operations policies directly affecting the musicians include:

Beneficiary's Right to Assign Residuals

Effective for distributions payable after July 1, 2016, a living individual whom the Fund has determined to be a beneficiary under the provisions of paragraph 2(a) of the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund Agreement may assign any payments that he or she would otherwise receive on account of the death of the participating musician to whom the distribution would otherwise have been due, subject to the following terms and conditions:

  1. Any assignment will be irrevocable.
  2. Assignment may be made to only one living individual, to minimize the Fund's expenses of administering this policy.
  3. Upon the death of the beneficiary's assignee, no further benefits on account of the death of the participating musician will be payable.
  4. The beneficiary agrees to execute an agreement in the form provided by the Fund holding the Fund harmless from, and indemnifying the Fund against, all losses that the Fund may incur with respect to the assignment.
  5. If a subsequent/omitted beneficiary comes forward who would otherwise have been entitled to be included in the participating musician’s share, the Fund reserves the right to withhold/decrease subsequent funds to the previously named beneficiaries in order to make up for the missed payments to the subsequent/omitted beneficiary.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per the collective bargaining agreement between the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF) participant musicians are not allowed to assign their residual wage benefits. However, FMSMF participant musicians are expected to complete a beneficiary card to ensure that their beneficiary wishes are carried out upon their demise.

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Check Re-Issue Requests (7 Years or Older) Policy

The Fund reserves the right to not issue a replacement check after 7 years from the date of issue, unless there is sufficient documentation to support the re-issuance of an original or replacement check. In the absence of such documentation, the Fund will take the position that a check has been cashed and will not be re-issued. This decision remains at the discretion of the Executive Director.

Notice Regarding Escheat Regulations - Please be advised that pursuant to the California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 1521 ("CCP § 1521"), the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund qualifies for the "safe harbor" exemption under subsection (b) created for labor unions, and their associated pension/residual/royalty funds that would otherwise apply to unclaimed property and monies

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Credit for Full and Partial Film Omissions – Prospective & Retroactive Payments

Effective November 10, 1999, all musicians who are discovered to have been omitted from a covered film, partially, in full, or for whatever reason, and whose omission has been verified, will be credited prospectively. Retroactive checks will be issued for the period inclusive of the date of the first contribution on behalf of the film in question, from 1989 forward, through the date of processing. This policy applies to films from all the studios, productions companies and payroll companies utilizing musicians under the auspices of the American Federation of Musicians and for which the first contribution was received by the Special Payments Fund (now Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund) during and after the year 1989.

Musicians who were omitted for work done on films for which contributions were received prior to 1989 will be covered when an inquiry is received and verified. These musicians will be credited prospectively, and retroactive checks will be issued which cover the period between the date of receipt of the first contribution, but no earlier than 1989, through the date of processing only.

If contracts are located for films for which the Fund has received no musician inquiries, omitted musicians will be credited prospectively. Retroactive checks will be issued which cover the period between the date of receipt of the first contribution, but no earlier than 1989, through the date of processing only.

Full and/or partial wage omissions will be processed similarly, without distinction between them. The same policy and system(s) will be utilized in the treatment of both. Retroactive payments for both will be drawn from the same combined reserve fund.

Exceptions to these policies will be handled on an individual, case by case, basis, with the Executive Director making the final decision.

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Direct Deposit Policy

Irrespective of the permission granted in the Direct Deposit enrollment form that authorizes the Fund to debit a Participating Musician's or Beneficiary's account, in the event of an erroneous deposit into his/her account1, it is the policy of the Fund that no such debit(s) shall be taken without prior notification via certified mail to the Participating Musician or Beneficiary at the Participating Musician's or Beneficiary's address of record with the Fund. In addition, the Fund shall provide such Participating Musician/Beneficiary the opportunity to provide the Fund with a reason in writing why such debit should not be taken, and to request a reconsideration of the debit. The request for a reconsideration—which must be accompanied by the written reason(s) for such reconsideration—must be submitted via certified mail to the Executive Director, Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund, 15910 Ventura Pl, 9th Floor, Encino, CA 91436, and postmarked within two (2) business days from the date of the receipt of the notice from the Fund of the erroneous deposit. The Executive Director shall review Participant's request and make final determination as to the validity of the claim.

If the Executive Director rejects the Participant's request or no request is made, overpayments shall generally be deducted from the Participating Musician's/Beneficiary's disbursal subsequent to the disbursal in which the overpayment was made. In the unlikely event that it should be necessary to debit the Participating Musician's/Beneficiary's account, final notice shall be given, via certified mail, to the Participating Musician or Beneficiary at the Fund's address of record for the Participating Musician or Beneficiary at least two days prior to executing the debit.

This policy is effective as of June 19, 2001.

1"In the event that the Fund deposits funds erroneously into my account, I authorize the Fund to debit my account for an amount not to exceed the original amount of the erroneous credit."

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Divorce Accommodation Policy


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Musician/Beneficiary Designations

Effective, January, 2008 this policy will amend Exhibit "A" 2. (a), of the 2002-2005 Basic Theatrical Motion Picture Agreement, as follows (italicized text):

In the event of the death of a musician entitled to a distributive share hereunder, the Executive Director shall distribute such share to the beneficiary—or beneficiaries designated by such musician, or alternate beneficiary (in the event the beneficiary predeceased the musician)—on a form provided by the Executive Director for such purpose, or, if no such beneficiary be so designated, then to the surviving spouse of such musician; or if there be no such person, to the musician's estate.

In addition, a beneficiary of a musician or alternate beneficiary (in the event the beneficiary pre-deceased the musician) may select a beneficiary or beneficiaries, (aka: the "BOB") and if no beneficiary be so designated, then to the surviving spouse of such beneficiary; and if there be no such person, to the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the beneficiary's estate. However, the Fund will cease to make any further payments upon the death of all such beneficiaries of beneficiaries (the BOB's).

IMPORTANT: Your beneficiary designation(s) may be subject to certain legal limitations. You may wish to consult your attorney for further information.

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Dual Musician/Beneficiary Participants – BeneficiaryDesignation Determination

Effective October 19, 2011 for participants who are both a Musician and an active Beneficiary (receiving payments as a beneficiary):

If there is no Beneficiary of Beneficiary (BoB) Designation card on file, the musician's Beneficiary Designation card will be used to determine their beneficiary. However, if a musician does not have a Beneficiary Designation card on file, but is an active beneficiary with a valid BoB card on file, this BoB card will be used to determine their beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Additionally, if the Fund has both cards on file [a musician Beneficiary Designation card and Beneficiary of Beneficiary (BoB) Designation card] and each card designates a different beneficiary(ies), then the Fund will comply with the designation(s) as indicated on each card.

NOTE: If you intend to designate the same beneficiary(ies) on both cards, you must update both cards accordingly.
If you would like to update your Beneficiary Designation card, please click here.

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Participant Fraud

Effective April 1, 2005, the Fund will handle cases of fraud perpetrated by or against participants in the following ways:

If it is proven that the participant is a victim of fraud (i.e. their check is stolen, forged and cashed) the Fund will make a determination on a case by case basis and depending on the amount will:

  • File a claim with their insurance company and/or
  • Replace the funds to the participant with an Accounts Payable check out of the general funds, documenting the reasons in the ledger, Fund financials, and participant file
  • 1099 the participant
  • Obtain, if possible, an assignment of the musician's rights for assets of whatever is recovered by them
  • Obtain, if possible, an order of restitution
  • Contact the bank who cashed the check
  • Pursue legal action against the perpetrator if it is in the Fund's best interests to do so

If it is determined that the participant has committed the fraud (i.e. cashed duplicate checks) the Fund will establish themselves as a levy/lien agency for purposes of collecting future residuals checks:

  • The participant will be charged for all administrative and legal costs associated with the theft
  • The participant will receive a W2 for the full amount of the checks cashed
  • The lien will be effective until the full amount of the funds is recouped
  • The Fund may take legal action against the participant if it is in its best interests to do so

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Participant Replacement Check – January Moratorium

No checks are replaced in the months of December and January to prepare for tax reporting. Check reissues resume in February.

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Participating Musician for New-Use – Addendum to Side-Letter Agreement

Effective July 5, 2001, the Fund will expand slightly the application of "Participating Musicians" resulting from the inclusion of sound recordings in covered motion pictures and television films. Specifically, this policy will amend the second and third sentences in the first Paragraph of the May 13, 1992 "Side-letter" (at page 100 of the '96-'99 Basic Theatrical Motion Picture Agreement) regarding "Participating Musicians" as follows:

It is understood that the Special Payments Fund may distribute the payments provided under Articles 15 and 16 of the Theatrical Agreement and under Article 14 of the Television Agreement to "participating musicians," as defined in those Articles, and to musicians entitled to receive live session payments under Article 8B. Any musician entitled to receive live session payments under Article 8B. shall participate on the distribution of such monies on the same basis as if he/she were considered a "participating musician.""

This change—while necessary to enable the Fund to include numerous sound recording musicians for participation in Secondary Markets Fund (f/k/a "Special Payments Fund") payments who unequivocally performed on records utilized in motion pictures, but were not actually paid for such performances—will have absolutely no financial impact on the Producers.

The policy is not intended to create any additional obligation for payment on the part of the Producer, but merely to secure the appropriate participation in the Secondary Markets Fund for the affected musicians.

Updated 11/1/2015

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