Did anyone lose $1.1 billion?

Yesterday the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released a statement urging people to check for unclaimed money. The current total of unclaimed monies held by ASIC on behalf of the Commonwealth Government is more than $1.1 billion. 

Unclaimed money can come from dormant bank accounts, life insurance, shares and other investments that haven’t been claimed. Generally, unclaimed money is transferred from financial institutions after no contact from the account owner or transactions on the account for 7 years.

Finding your money is as simple as heading to ASIC ‘s MoneySmart website at https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/find-unclaimed-money and performing a name search.

You may have unclaimed money if you:

  • Moved house and didn’t update your address
  • Haven’t transacted on your account for seven years
  • Stopped making payments on a life policy
  • Haven’t been receiving dividends that you received previously
  • Were an executor on a deceased estate

Once you have “found” your money, you need to contact the financial institution where your account or policy was held. After confirming the validity of your request, your financial institution will lodge a claim with ASIC. After processing the claim, ASIC sends the funds back to your financial institution. This process takes around 28 days.

The $1.1 billion that ASIC holds is approximately broken down by state and account type as follows:

State/TerritoryBank AccountsLife Insurance PoliciesShares & Other Investments
New South Wales$200m$25m$154m
Western Australia$43m$5m$27m
South Australia$17m$4m$14m
Northern Territory$4.5m$0.5m$3m

Sourced from ASIC.

Unclaimed money held by ASIC is always able to be claimed by the owner. There is no time limit on claims and from 1 July 2013 interest has been payable on unclaimed money. Tax is not payable on the interest earned on unclaimed monies.

For more background information on the Unclaimed Monies held by ASIC, please visit them here: http://www.asic.gov.au/about-asic/media-centre/find-a-media-release/2017-releases/17-121mr-you-could-have-a-share-in-11-billion-of-unclaimed-money/

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