It’s hard to imagine forgetting about money, but you may be surprised to learn that in the UK alone there is something like £15 billion of forgotten about financial assets languishing in old bank accounts, investments, premium bonds, pensions and life assurance policies. Some of these may have belonged to a relative who has passed on or they may simply be something you yourself set up and then forgot about.
In 2012, the UK government established the Big Society Fund to allow it to utilise cash in dormant accounts to benefit social and community causes. With this kind of money just waiting to be found it’s worth taking some time to find out whether any of it could be coming your way. And before you start, be aware that this is something you can do for yourself; there is really no need to pay anyone else to track down old assets for you.
How to Reclaim
Banks generally declare current accounts to be dormant after 12 months without activity, or 3-5 years for savings accounts and after the bank has attempted and failed to contact the account holder. Investment and pension providers will carry on looking after your investments but if you fail to keep in touch with them, especially if you move house without informing them, they won’t know where to contact you when the investment account requires action from you.
The good news is that it is very easy to track down any lost accounts you may have held with a bank or building society using a simple online checking service set up jointly by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings & Investments. My Lost Account helps you to trace any account you had with any bank, building society or with NS&I, even where financial institutions merged or closed. You should get a response within 3 months of your claim.
Trace Old Premium Bonds
You can use the My Lost Account site to look for these too and once you have your bond holder’s number you can check for unclaimed prizes on the NS&I Premium Bonds Prize Checker site. If the Premium Bonds are more than 30 years old you’ll need to write to NS&I (https://www.nsandi.com/how-do-i-get-touch) to ask for a holder’s number.
Forgotten Pensions and Investments
Many people starting out in a new job early in their working lives start saving into a pension or investment scheme but as time goes on it’s easy to forget all about these.
If you’ve lost track of your pension scheme details The Pension Tracing Service can help you find a current address of the scheme you’re looking for.
Lost Investment Trust Funds can be traced using the My Lost Account site and help in finding lost Unit Trusts can be found by contacting the Investment Association on 020 7831 0898 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org,
For a fee of £25 per search the Unclaimed Assets Register (Experian) can help trace a lost insurance policy, pension or shareholding and will give a provider’s contact details for your further investigations.