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Billions unclaimed in pensions and investments could go to good causes

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
04/06/2018
Billions of pounds worth of cash sitting in untouched pensions and investments could be given to good causes under plans to expand the government's dormant accounts scheme.

The government has appointed four ‘business heavyweights’ to work with the banking, securities, pensions, insurance, wealth management and investment sectors to increase the amount of dormant funds that can be released for good causes.

An estimated £2bn sits unclaimed in the pension, insurance, and investment and wealth management sectors.

Under the current dormant accounts scheme, bank or building society accounts that have been left completely untouched for more than 15 years could be used for good causes but consumers are able to reclaim any asset that has been classed as dormant at any time.

The new team will work to see how this can be expanded to a wider set of financial assets including stocks, shares, pensions or bonds, as long as it can be proven every effort has been made to track down the account holder.

They will also bolster efforts to reunite customers with assets from bank accounts that have been untouched for more than 15 years.

DCMS said banks have transferred the contents of millions of accounts so far, with the average account containing less than £100. See YourMoney.com’s Millions left unclaimed in dormant accounts: how to trace your money for more information.

According to Aviva, generally, a life and pension asset is considered dormant only once there has been no contact with the customer for at least seven years after the policy has ended. For products which have no contractual end date, the asset would be considered dormant once there has been no contact for at least seven years after the customer has either reached a very old age or has passed away.

The new team includes:

  • Insurance and pensions industry champion – Kirsty Cooper, group general counsel and company secretary at Aviva
  • Banking industry champion – Simon Kenyon, managing director of consumer banking at Lloyds Banking Group
  • Investment and wealth management champion – William Nott, strategic adviser to M&G
  • Securities champion – Robert Welch, group company secretary at Tesco.

John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “We introduced the dormant assets scheme with the aim of changing the lives of millions of people across the country through good causes. But without the support of businesses, the scheme wouldn’t be what it is today.

“I’m delighted that these highly-experienced business leaders have agreed to be our new industry champions. Their expertise will be vital as we look at ways to expand the scheme, and I look forward to working with them to reach even more people.”

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