OUR CALCULATIONS OF THE POTENTIAL TOTAL OF
UNCLAIMED ASSETS OWED TO CHARITIES
Our estimate of the value of unclaimed assets
owed to charities from their legacy estates is in the order of
hundreds of millions of pounds. In order to reach an estimate,
we are forced to use approximations based in part on US comparison,
since many of the financial institutions which are holding unclaimed
assets do not publish their value. We show below how we have reached
STEP 1: THE
We use a wide definition of unclaimed assets
which includes all categories of financial investments, including
dormant bank accounts, unclaimed stocks and shares, forgotten
insurance and pension investments, together with the contents
of deed boxes etc lying unclaimed in banks' safe-keeping.
STEP 2: ESTIMATING
Estimates of the value of unclaimed assets in
the UK vary widely. This is because financial institutions refuse
to disclose the value of the unclaimed assets they are holding
and because definitions of unclaimed assets vary.
To estimate the total value of unclaimed assets,
we have used the US model as our base, for in that country unclaimed
property Consumer Protection legislation has been in operation
for over thirty years, and a public, searchable register of unclaimed
property is made readily available by each Statesee www.unclaimed.org.
Our estimate, using the US example, is that there are approximately
£30 billion of unclaimed assets in the UK, albeit that officials
working in unclaimed property in the US have expressed the view
that our figure is conservative.
Additional support for our estimate comes from
a number of sources. The commercial and voluntary Unclaimed Assets
Register estimates that there is at least £15bn of unclaimed
assets held in the UK. At the other extreme, media articles in
recent years have claimed there are £125bn of unclaimed assets.
And research into the FTSE 100 companies suggests at least £1
billion of unclaimed shares is lodged with companies trading on
the London Stock Exchange.
STEP 3: ESTIMATING
We estimate that approximately two-thirds of
unclaimed assets in the UK belong to deceased person's estates,
since these lost assets have been accumulating over generations.
Using our estimate of £30 billion of unclaimed assets, the
value of the two thirds of unclaimed assets belonging to deceased
person's estates would be £20 billion.
Approximately £1 in £20 bequeathed
by UK legators is gifted to charity. Therefore £1bn could
be due to our charitiesthis is almost the total value of
one full year's legacies left to all UK charities. In addition,
the value of unclaimed assets lost to our charities increases
daily as new Wills are proven and their executors fail to locate
all of the assets owned by our legators.
Our estimations therefore leave us to conclude
that we can support the statement that there are "hundreds
of millions of pounds" of unclaimed assets owed to charities.
Total value of unclaimed assets owed to charities
from bank and building society accounts.
The estimates recently provided by the British
Bankers' Association and Building Societies' Association put the
total value of unclaimed assets from this sector at £300-£500m,
and this figure has been accepted by HM Treasury. Using the same
calculation as above, this would mean that the potential charitable
income from this group of asset totals between £10m and £23m.