Finance: Banks helped in quest for dormant account owners

The Shareholder Partnership is to launch a service next month to help banks locate the owners of dormant accounts.

The service could see tens of thousands of pounds donated to charities as some of the rightful owners waive their right to the money.

The move follows last December's deal between Chancellor Gordon Brown and the banking industry to redirect money to good causes from accounts that have been inactive for at least 15 years.

The Shareholder Partnership has now set up the charitable subsidiary ShareCare to funnel money to charities from unclaimed shares and bank accounts.

Tim Marshall, managing director of the partnership, said: "Instead of the money being allotted by the Government to, for example, the 2012 Olympics, the person can decide who they want to give it to. If we can find them, we will give people the freedom to choose the charity they want."

ShareCare's work on unwanted shares has already seen tens of thousands of pounds donated to charities including the Down's Syndrome Association and the Anthony Nolan Trust.

It is presently signing up charities that will benefit from its new dormant account tracing service for the banking sector.

"Those who have or inherit dormant assets are likely to donate money to charity as the amounts are often small," said Marshall.

"Offering a charitable route provides a win-win situation for institutions and customers alike."

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