The Commission on Dormant Assets published a report last month
which states that including shares and investment fund holdings
within its scope could considerably increase the amount of money
available for charities. The Commission's view is that the
current scheme should be expanded to include a much wider range of
financial assets, and it estimates that their inclusion could lead
to an extra £1-2 billion of funding being transferred for the
eventual benefit of good causes.
More than £1 billion has already been uncovered in dormant
bank accounts and building society accounts since 2008. Through the
Dormant Assets Scheme, an estimated £360 million has been
directed to good causes. Because of the success of the current
dormant assets scheme and the positive industry participation to
date, the Government announced in late 2015 its intention to
examine how to broaden the scope of the Dorman Assets Scheme and
appointed a new Commission in 2016.
The Commission determined that a broad range of UK-domiciled
financial products are suitable for inclusion, including additional
bank accounts, unclaimed proceeds from life insurance and pensions
products, and non-cash assets such as dormant holdings in
investment funds, shares and bonds. Further, it noted that certain
assets recommended for inclusion may be held through trust
structures and that legislative change may be required to
facilitate trustees transferring assets to the scheme. Given the
time constraints, the Commission stated that it was unable to
complete a detailed review of non-financial products.
During the summer of 2016, the Commission contacted around 200
organisations, including trade associations, regulators and market
participants to ask their opinions on expanding the current
The Commission recommended that the way that the scheme is
managed should be revised to enable it to cope with a wider range
of assets envisaged. It further recommended that new or amended
legislation should be enacted to give effect to the proposed
Finally, the Report recommends that the Reclaim Fund, which
administers the Dorman Asset Scheme, should be reconstituted in
lieu of being owned by an entity within the Co-operative Group. The
directors of the reconstituted reclaim fund should be responsible
for ensuring there is an appropriate balance between the two roles
of reserving for future reclaims and making distributions for the
benefit of good causes.
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