Consumers have been urged to search for forgotten savings, investments and pensions after new research from Sanlam UK suggested there could be anywhere between £15bn and £77bn in lost money waiting to be claimed in the UK.
In respect of savings, the Money Advice Service estimates there is £850m sitting unclaimed in British accounts, with the increased willingness of savers to switch account making it more likely that people forget where they have their money. Searching for this money is possible using the free online service My Lost Account, which covers over 30 banks and all 44 UK building societies and will help you trace any lost personal accounts. It is particularly useful in instances where a bank or building society has closed or merged.
For those savers who fail to keep to track of their Premium Bonds, National Savings & Investments (NS&I) reports that there are currently more than 1.5m prizes that have gone unclaimed worth more than £60m. While the My Lost Account service can be used to uncover any Premium Bonds that you hold that you may not have been aware of, most people obviously also want to know if those missing Premium Bonds have won a prize over the years. This requires a visit to the NS&I website, where a form can be filled in online, and a response is promised within a month. One important aside is in respect of any bonds bought more than 30 years ago
- these are likely to be individually numbered and will require a letter to NS&I at Glasgow, G58 1SB to retrieve a bond holder's number.
For younger savers, tax-free Child Trust Funds saw children born between 2002 and 2011 given a Government bonus of £250 each. However, with over one million such bonuses being classified as 'addressee gone away', they were never claimed, leading The Share Centre to suggest that as much as £1bn could be lost. To find out if you, or more accurately your child, might be one of them, a request can be submitted via GOV.UK.
According to the Pension Tracing Service, there is also more than £5bn in forgotten pension schemes in the UK, as workers, who have on average 11 jobs during their working lives, lose track of employee pensions. Personal pensions also often get overlooked when moving house, and changing name, perhaps due to marriage, as people neglect to update their personal details. Tracking down this money is possible using the Pension Tracing Service or alternatively, the Pensions Advisory Service.
Meanwhile, in respect of investments, anyone who thinks they might hold shares in a company, but have no record of them and cannot find the share certificates, 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 you a fee for issuing a replacement certificate. Alternatively, the Investment Association or the Association of Investment Companies might be able to help.
For the ultimate unexpected surprise, however, in September there was almost £12m in unclaimed National Lottery prizes. All prizes have to be claimed within 180 days, with the National Lottery website holding the key to your potential fortune.
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.