Banks targetted over 'lost millions'

Campaigners are to lobby financial institutions in a bid to help charities access hundreds of millions of pounds of assets left to them in supporters' wills.

The Unclaimed Assets Charity Coalition fears that charities are missing out on money that has been left to them by their supporters but is left unclaimed because it lies unidentified in banks, pension funds and land deeds, in the form of unclaimed financial assets.

In 2006, the coalition estimated that unclaimed legacies were worth £1bn (Third Sector, 14 June 2006). The coalition, a network of 55 charities led by Cancer Research UK and Barnardo's, announced it was to "open a dialogue" with large UK financial institutions to ask about the current access procedures for identifying unclaimed assets.

The coalition is also offering to provide advice and guidance for charities that are uncertain of how to contact their own banks in search of dormant funds.

"Unclaimed assets remain a significant source of lost income for charities throughout the UK," said Paul Farthing, director of legacies at CRUK and spokesman for the coalition. "It's vital that we continue to take what action we can to enable us to access this revenue stream in an effective and straightforward manner."

Farthing added that unclaimed assets meant all financial assets, not just bank and building society accounts.
Charities wanting to find out more should contact Mairi MacRae, Cancer Research UK's charity policy researcher, on mairi.macrae@cancer.org.uk.

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