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‘Eye-watering’ £89bn of savings and investments lost

‘Eye-watering’ £89bn of savings and investments lost
Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

The number of lost and dormant accounts in the UK has grown more than 40% in just four years to an “unprecedented” 28 million.

An estimated and “eye-watering” £89bn of individuals’ savings and investments are sat languishing in accounts ranging from child trust funds to shares, bank accounts and pensions. That’s an average of £3,141 each.

According to Gretel – which provides a free hub to connect savers with lost and dormant accounts – by sector, the most amount of unaccounted money sits within pensions.

Here, an estimated £64.7bn is lost in 2.8 million accounts, representing an average amount of £23,125 per saver. Gretel said this is mainly because people change jobs or change addresses.

Gretel’s research found that a third (30%) of UK adults think they may have a pension they are unaware of or haven’t considered, and similar trends are observed across bank, savings, life insurance, investments, and child trust funds.

Indeed, an estimated £4.5bn languishes in forgotten bank and building societies, averaging £321, £5.7bn in child trust funds at an average of £2,175 and £8.1bn in life insurance products.

Meanwhile, Gretel’s latest figures also reveal that £81m is lost within NS&I.

If customers found lost and forgotten money, one in six (15%) said they would use it for everyday living costs, and 13% would use it to pay off debts.

Meanwhile, a quarter of people would consolidate them into other accounts (25%) and 12% would transfer them to a new account.

‘Reclaiming assets has been complicated and daunting’

Duncan Stevens, CEO of Gretel, said: “Historically, the process to track down and reclaim these assets has been complicated and daunting.

“While advancements in technology over recent years will ultimately help reunite the public with some of this money, technology such as open banking rely entirely on the individual knowing where their lost money actually is or knowing how to track it down, something [that] our research indicates only a third (37%) of people do.”

He added: “Recognising this significant barrier for consumers, Gretel is uniquely designed to allow people to search providing just the most basic details about themselves, such as name, address and date of birth. Doing so ensures that we are accessible to everyone, from the most vulnerable to the most financially literate.”

Related: Dormant account scheme to include unclaimed insurance and investment assets