The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has set up an online tool that will help Australian nationals to retrieve their unclaimed money from various sources.
In a statement Peter Kell, ASIC deputy chairman, said,
There are more than a million records of unclaimed money from dormant bank accounts, life insurance, shares and other investments waiting to be claimed.
Unclaimed money is transferred to the Commonwealth after it’s been unclaimed usually for seven years (but it is) always claimable by the rightful owner with no time limit.
He noted that over A$87 million had been paid in 2016 to nearly 16,000 people. ASIC said that the size of the payouts ranged from A$1 million to a few dollars. The region with the biggest pool of unclaimed money is New South Wales. According to recent data, around A$380 million is available, with Sydney accounting for the maximum – A$319 million. Other regions with large balances are the Hunter area with A$14 million followed by Illawarra with A$1 million.
According to the agency, Victorians accounted for a total of A$197 million of which A$170 million came from Melbourne and $5 million from Barwon. In the case of Queensland, the total unclaimed money available is A$112 million of which A$58 million is from Brisbane and A$17 million is from the Gold Coast.
The size is lesser in other regions: A$75 million remains unclaimed in Western Australia while it is A$35 million in South Australia, A$9 million in Tasmania, A$15 million in the ACT and A$8 million in the Northern Territory
Around A$458.5 million of the total unclaimed money is from dormant bank accounts forming the biggest share. Money lying in shares and other investments is A$309 million and that in life insurance policies is A$62.5 million.
People most often forget to collect money due to reasons like moving houses without informing their banks, being named an executor of an estate, failing to make transactions on a bank account and other such reasons. Kell urged people to use the free online resource to find any money of theirs that can be claimed.
Anyone who finds money that is due to them via the online tool would need to contact the institution listed as holding the cash. The organization in question will assess the claim and then lodge it with the ASIC. The claims are then processed by the ASIC and funds released to the individual. A claim will typically take 28 days to process.