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Charities could benefit from £2bn found in dormant financial assets

Charities and good causes could be in line for a windfall after up to £2 billion was found in dormant financial assets.

An investigation has identified unclaimed assets including insurance policies, investment portfolios and pensions which could be distributed to good causes across the UK.

Civil Society Minister Rob Wilson said the money, identified by the Independent Dormant Assets Commission, could change millions of lives.

The commission was set up in 2015 to look at whether the current dormant asset scheme covering unused bank and building society accounts should be expanded.

The existing scheme has already identified £1 billion of dormant account money, with £360 million distributed to good causes.

The commission's report identified further untapped assets including £715 million from investments and wealth management, £550 million from the pensions and insurance sector, £150 million from securities and £140 million from banks and building societies.

Ministers will consider the commission's findings, but if they decide to follow its recommendation to expand the dormant assets scheme and distribute the cash, charities could be in line for a significant funding boost.

Cash would only be distributed after attempts to reunite the money with its rightful owner after a specified term had elapsed.

Mr Wilson said: "This money could help change millions of lives across the country by helping good causes rather than gathering dust in dormant accounts.

"The reason I set up the commission was to unearth new resources that would allow our charities and voluntary groups to become more sustainable and independent. But crucially also to deliver really important local services over the long term.

"This is an example of an active Government stepping in where it can make things better to the benefit of local communities and all concerned."

"I'd like to thank the commission which has worked tirelessly with the financial services sector on this report, and will study its findings closely."

The commission's chairman, Nick O'Donohoe, said: " The commission believes that there may be up to £2 billion worth of assets lying dormant across a number of financial industries and products.

"With the support of the financial services sector we believe it is possible to reunite many of these assets with their owners and, where this is not possible, to free up substantial incremental funds for good causes in the UK."

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