There is just one month left to find forgotten cash and pensions through the Unclaimed Assets Register before it shuts down for good on 31 August.
Almost 20 million people could have thousands of pounds sitting in lost accounts and policies, according to recent calculations by Gretel, a tracing service.
It predicted that £50bn is currently unclaimed in the UK, the vast majority of which – £37bn – is thought to be locked away in old pensions.
The UAR, run by credit rating firm Experian, has been an important tool for consumers in search of forgotten pensions, bank accounts, Premium Bonds, investments and insurance policies. But now, after 20 years, Experian is closing the database, saying it is no longer a priority for the business.
Jai Baker of Link Group, a record keeping firm, said reconnecting people with their assets is “a fundamental role of the financial services industry” and added that the closure of the service – which contains 4.5 million records from around 80 financial providers – has brought the issue of dormant assets under the spotlight.
Currently, there is no obligation for providers to list their lost assets centrally, creating a disparate market for tracing lost assets that can be difficult for consumers to navigate. Services like Police Detective, a tool for finding insurance policies, and Money Helper’s Pension Tracing Service are free to use, but only allow customers to search for specific assets.
This makes these less useful, for example, for executors searching for lost inheritances. In these situations, you could use a service like Inheritance Data, which allows people to search across a range of financial accounts.
Daniel Cane of Inheritance Data pointed out that the UAR “could only search through the data of a limited number of companies.”
Last year, the Government announced it was expanding its Dormant Asset Scheme to include insurance policies, pension pots and investments. It is hoped the scheme’s expansion could help more people find out if they’re due a windfall.