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Say Hello to Lost Money

Did you know there are about 15.3 billion pounds of unclaimed funds in the UK financial sector?  Well the truth is that the Unclaimed Assets register has just done a small look at the UK financial system and found that there are 5 billion pounds in dormant accounts, and 3 billion pounds in pensions, National Savings and shares with dividends, and about 1 billion pounds in unclaimed insurance, among other types of accounts.  While these numbers are just projections they are close to accurate.  So how does this happen?  Most of the time individuals forget about accounts they have opened or think they have closed correctly.  In some cases the insurance policies were never paid out because the beneficiary didn’t file the paperwork.  There are a lot of reasons and action should be taken. is a one stop online resource that allows you to trace building society, banks, and National Savings and Investment accounts.  The site was launched in January to help those who have lost their accounts be reunited.  The site brings together three different ideas from the British Bankers Association, the Building Societies Association, and National Savings and Investments that have been run independently since 2001.

The importance of these lost accounts has come to light with recent activities.  In 2001 the agencies listed above launched a campaign for people to find their lost accounts and get everything settled because a manifesto was published.  The manifesto states that any unclaimed funds will be seized by the government.  Once of the reasons for the seizing of these funds idea are the 2012 Olympics and the position of the government being in the red for financial sectors.  While the manifesto has yet to be made into law, even with the 2005 election of it, there are steps bringing the government ever closer to seizing these unclaimed funds.  Last November the Queen announced the unclaimed assets bill or the building societies bill as it is now known.  This means that in as little as a year you may risk losing funds you have forgotten about or that you have lost somehow.

The bill has a definite plan for how your money will be used if you do not claim it.  The bill has its third reading in the House of Lords on February 26th 2008.  After this reading the bill will be passed to the House of Commons in late spring.  The House of Commons is going to define the bill and what types of unclaimed dormant accounts may be in jeopardy.  As it stands right now any account that has been dormant for fifteen years is going to be subject to the bill.  It seems the government feels an account that long dormant is not going to be found and reclaimed by the proper parties.  Of course you still have a chance of reconnecting with your lost funds if you take advantage of the website.  So make sure to search out anything you may have lost before the bill is passed.

The Plan

The bill regarding dormant accounts does have one good option.  The bill states that there will be a reclaim fund established for customers that find their lost accounts, but find they were plundered by the government.  The idea of this part of the bill is to make the bill get passed with the least resistance.  The other half of this portion of the bill to claim dormant funds is that the banks will be released from customer liability.  In other words if the customer goes to the bank and finds there funds are missing the bank is no longer responsible.  The reclaim fund will be set up as a different part of the financial sector and require a bit of paper work.  Most of the banks have refused this option saying that they have a liability to their customers even on dormant accounts.

Next you have to ask why the banks are helping to refuse the bill.  The most logical is that the bank makes more off the dormant account by having it in their coffers rather than the government sector.  In other words the bank doesn’t have to track down the dormant bank holder after they issue a statement to the last known address.  This means the money stays with them.  The new bill however states that the banks would lose the money if the bill is passed, so why not take the liability release?  It seems that it could be a lesser of two options.  The bank has a liability to the consumer so if they relinquish this hold they could be looked at as unfavourable instead of the government.

If you need to find your missing money there are ways.  There are a several reasons for someone losing their assets and accounts.  Of course the question how could they really is always there.  It could be that the moving company did not notify the proper companies.  Another reason is that the spouse or next of kin had no idea of the account being opened and it was not mentioned in a will.  Another reason that is really big is the company changing names on accounts and they don’t realize that this is where the money is housed now.  So you can make sure that your money is safe by using the website mentioned in the first part of this article, or you can make sure that every documentation you have is gone over thoroughly as it comes into your home.

If you use an agency you will find that some charge and others don’t.  You can also go to the bank or society where the account was last held.  In some cases you can even research the company you know it was at and see if a name change occurred.  If the bank was taken over by a rival, but you have documentation you can get your lost money.  The chances are the bank rival bought the accounts and has been sitting on them.


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