Consumers have £110 billion of dormant funds in UK financial institutions, equating to around £2,500 per adult, new research from YouGov suggests.
The “Pensions, Savings and Investments: Lost Account Gaps” reports reveals that £11 billion is in banks and building societies, with the remaining £99 billion being in national savings, life insurance, pensions, investment management funds and investment trusts. YouGov finds that the largest amounts of unclaimed funds are in pensions (£42.8 billion), investment and management funds (£29.3 billion) and life insurance (£22.7 billion).
YouGov’s research shows that 13% of UK adults have searched for unclaimed money or assets, which equates to approximately 6 million people. It finds that many of this group do not think financial institutions are not doing enough to help unlock funds in dormant accounts. Only 17% of people searching for lost money or assets feel that financial organisations are making enough effort to find customers with unclaimed money in lost accounts.
The report shows that over half (54%) of people with experience of tracking down lost assets think financial organisations are not making enough of an effort to finds customers with lost accounts. Three quarters (77%) think financial companies should increase awareness of how to go about tracing unclaimed money or assets.
However, the report also shows that consumers themselves are the main reason accounts become dormant in the first place, as they fail to report changes in their contact details. Over half (52%) of consumers feel that it is their responsibility for keeping financial records up to date with the correct address, phone number or email, and further four in ten (41%) feel that it is both their own and the financial company’s joint responsibility. Just 4% feel it was the sole responsibility of the financial services company to keep records up to date.
James McCoy, YouGov Research Director, says: “Dormant accounts contain a huge pot of money for British consumers but at the moment many of them are finding it hard to access these funds. Part of the problem is that they feel financial institutions should do more to help them reclaim the money and the public feel as though there should be more information about how to do this. However, the public also realise that the reason so many accounts become dormant in the first place is because they themselves are not keeping records up to date. Consumers taking better care of their financial records will mitigate a large part of this problem, but financial institutions could also use this as an opportunity to demonstrate transparency with the public.”