More than a million accounts holding unclaimed funds – ranging from $500
to $1 million – have been transferred to the Commonwealth from dormant
bank accounts, life insurance payouts, share dividends and other
Now ASIC is trying to find the owners of the money, shared across more than
a million records, says Peter Kell, the deputy chair at ASIC.
"We're keen to reunite people with their money," he says.
"The unclaimed money managed
by ASIC is always claimable by the rightful owner with no time limit on
The federal government body is urging people to use a free search tool on
its MoneySmart website to determine if they have any money waiting to be
claimed. A full name is needed to conduct a search, which works by locating
neglected accounts across different financial institutions.
The money will be returned by ASIC to rightful owners within 28 days of
successfully lodging an application with the institution holding the
More than a billion dollars has gone unclaimed in Australia, most of which
is based in New South Wales ($380m), Victoria ($197m) and Queensland
Last year ASIC returned $87 million to 16,000
people, says Kell.
People may find they have unclaimed money in a number of situations, including if they:
homes without letting the bank know
- did not use a savings or cheque
account for seven years
- stopped making payments on a life insurance
- stopped receiving regular dividends or interest cheques
- were an executor of a deceased estate.
Money left unclaimed with banks and life insurance providers is turned over
to the Commonwealth after seven years; however, the threshold was lowered
to three years in 2016.