A UK dormant accounts scheme: a consultation on secondary legislation
17 February 2009
Many people forget about, or lose track of, small deposits of money in bank and building society accounts. Despite the efforts of banks and building societies to reunite these funds with their owners, they build up as unclaimed assets in the banking system. Several countries have successfully set up schemes in recent years to enable unclaimed assets such as these to be reinvested in society.
Following a comprehensive consultation, the Government introduced a Bill in Parliament to establish a dormant accounts scheme in the UK and the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act (‘the Act’) 2008 received Royal Assent on 26 November 2008.
The Act forms the legal framework to enable banks and building societies to transfer money in dormant bank and building society accounts to a central reclaim fund for distribution to the benefit of the community, while ensuring that the right of account holders to reclaim their money is protected. The reclaim fund assumes the legal obligation to repay account holders whose deposits are transferred to the fund. Money not required to meet repayments is passed to the BIG Lottery Fund for reinvestment in society. An alternative distribution option is available to smaller banks and building societies.
The Government intends to lay two statutory instruments before Parliament.
The first extends the scope of FSA authorisation to include reclaim funds.
The second instrument places a requirement on building societies participating in the scheme for smaller institutions, publicly to disclose information in line with the requirements placed on smaller banks by the Act.
The Government welcomes the views of interested parties on the proposals outlined in this consultation document in order to finalise the unclaimed assets scheme in the UK.
The statutory instruments referred to in this consultation document are provided below.
To respond to the consultation, please send your response to DormantAccountsSls@hm-treasury.gov.uk
The consultation is available in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer you can download the software free of charge from the Adobe website. For alternative ways to read PDF documents and further information on website accessibility visit the HM Treasury accessibility page.
A summary of replies to the questions raised in this consultation and the Government’s response is provided ‘A UK Dormant Accounts Scheme: summary of responses to consultation on secondary legislation’, which was published on 10 June 2009.
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