Investments 

How to trace £77bn sitting in forgotten accounts

How to trace £77bn sitting in forgotten accounts

There is between £15bn and £77bn in unclaimed money sitting in forgotten investments, pensions and bank accounts, according to Sanlam UK.

The wealth manager is urging consumers to search for the lost monies, starting with pensions, which account for £5bn of the forgotten UK wealth, according to the government's pension tracing service.

With an average of 11 jobs during a savers' working life, it is easy to lose track of employee pensions, Sanlam stated.

Consumers can track down these lost pension pots by using the Pension Tracing Service or reach out to the Pensions Advisory Service, now part of the Single Guidance Finance Body.

If a consumer holds shares in a company, but has no record of them and cannot find the share certificates, they can check by applying direct to any or all of the three main company registrars – Capita, Computershare and Equiniti.

They will search their records for free but will charge the individual a fee for issuing a replacement certificate. Alternatively, the Investment Association or the Association of Investment Companies might be able to help, Sanlam stated.

Regarding old bank and building society accounts, there is £850m still sitting unclaimed, according to the Money Advice Service.

The wealth manager said that savers can check this by using a free online service called My Lost Account, which covers over 30 banks and all 44 UK building societies.

On premium bonds, NS&I reports that there are more than 1.5m unclaimed prizes worth more than £60m.

The service used to track old bank accounts can be used to search for these products as well. The second stage will be to find out whether the individual holds a prize-winning number by visiting NS&I and filling in the online form, Sanlam said.

On lost insurance policies, there are £2bn languishing in unclaimed life insurance, according to Unclaimed Assets UK, which helps to trace lost money.

The wealth manager said that to find out if a deceased person had a life insurance policy, it can be helpful to go through old bank statements or cancelled cheques to see if any premiums were paid.

Individuals can also contact the people who dealt with their legal or financial matters and even past employers.

Sanlam warned that in September, there were almost £12m in unclaimed National Lottery prizes, but all prizes have to be claimed within 180 days.

These can be checked online at the National Lottery website, which allows to input numbers for Lotto, EuroMillions, ThunderBall, Lotto HotPicks and EuroMillions HotPicks.

After 180 days, any unclaimed prizes go to fund National Lottery Projects.

Last, but not least, there are more than one million unclaimed tax-free child trust funds - which saw children born between 2002 and 2011 given a government bonus of £250 each.

According to The Share Centre, as of June 2018, as much as £1bn could be lost. Individuals can check if their child might be entitled to one of these funds by submitting a request via gov.uk.­­­