Millions of pounds found in dormant accounts by the independent Dormant Assets Commission could boost voluntary and charity sector funding, the Government has said.
Around £2 billion is lying unclaimed in assets including stocks and shares, unclaimed insurance policies and pensions, and include £715 million from investments and wealth management, £550 million from the pensions and insurance sectors, £150 million from securities, and £140 million from banks and building societies.
Almost £1 billion of dormant accounts money has already been identified since the Dormant Accounts Scheme started in 2008, Of this, more than £360 million has been directed towards good causes across the UK.
Good causes that have benefitted from the current dormant accounts scheme include Age UK’s Reconnections programme in Worcestershire, which works to reduce loneliness and isolation in the area, and London’s Think Forward, which provides disadvantaged young people with opportunities in education, training and employment.
The Independent Dormant Assets Commission was set up in December 2015 to look at whether the current dormant asset scheme, which includes funds in banks and building societies, could be extended to other financial services. These include insurance products, stocks and shares, and pensions that have been classed as dormant.
An account is considered ‘dormant’ if it has been open throughout a 15-year period without any transactions being carried out in relation to the account by or on the instructions of the holder. Customers can however reclaim any lost assets at any time under the current scheme.
The Dormant Assets Commission has now published its final report into the scheme and its possible extension, which ministers will now consider.
Chair of the Commission Nick O’Donohoe, said:
“Our report has found hundreds of millions of pounds lying dormant across a number of financial sectors which could be put to far better use. I am delighted we now have the potential to help good causes even more. I hope the financial sector now supports our ambition by contributing dormant assets benefit to an expanded scheme.”
Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:
“This money could help change millions of lives across the country by helping good causes rather than gathering dust in dormant accounts.
“The reason I set up the commission was to unearth new resources that would allow our charities and voluntary groups to become more sustainable and independent. But crucially also to deliver really important local services over the long term.”
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