Aviva joins the Dormant Assets Scheme

Aviva plc and Reclaim Fund Ltd (RFL), the HM Treasury-owned and FCA-regulated operator of the Dormant Assets Scheme (the Scheme), have successfully completed the first transfer of dormant assets¹ from the Insurance and Pensions sector to the industry-led, government-backed Scheme.

The milestone sees Aviva join over 40 UK banks and building societies that currently participate in the Scheme, enabling dormant assets to be used to support vital social and environmental initiatives, while ensuring customers can be reunited with their assets in full at any point.

Aviva has become the first participant in the expanded Scheme, having worked with government, industry and RFL for over six years to adapt the successful model to new sectors and additional financial assets, culminating in the Dormant Assets Act 2022.

Aviva’s involvement paves the way for other companies in the Insurance and Pensions sector to join. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has been a proactive supporter of the Scheme expansion and has developed new resources to help companies in their preparations for joining the Scheme.

The Scheme is voluntary and all participants need to show they take extensive efforts to trace the original owners of dormant assets so people can be reunited with their funds.

Since the Scheme was first established for banks and building societies in 2011, more than £1.6bn in dormant assets has been transferred to RFL. From this, almost £900m has been distributed to good causes, benefitting over 2,500 social, community and environmental initiatives across the UK.

Beyond Insurance and Pensions, the Scheme will open to assets in the Investments and Wealth Management sector, along with securities or shares in UK plcs in the coming months. Conservative estimates suggest that expansion can potentially unlock a further £880m for good causes while also strengthening industry-wide efforts to trace, verify and reunite customers with dormant assets.

Kirsty Cooper, Group General Counsel and Company Secretary, Aviva plc comments:

“We have been working proactively with RFL and the wider dormant assets community for a number of years to expand the hugely successful Dormant Assets Scheme to the Insurance and Pensions sector and adapt it for longer-term products.

“It is great to see the culmination of a lot of hard work reaching fruition and it is such a privilege to be the first participant in our sector. We have been involved with the Dormant Assets Scheme since 2016 and hope that Aviva’s participation will encourage other companies to take part, with the dual purpose of reuniting customers with their assets while also ensuring dormant assets can have a positive impact on our society.”

Hannah Gurga, Director General, ABI, comments:

“This expansion unleashes our sector’s potential to use the millions of pounds it has in unclaimed assets to support good causes, with customers being able to reclaim their money indefinitely. We’re delighted that years of work with Government, Reclaim Fund Ltd and industry has come to fruition and to see the first transfer successfully completed. We hope that other insurers and pension providers will follow and have launched a new Participation Guide for those who are interested in joining the Scheme.”

Adrian Smith, OBE, Chief Executive, Reclaim Fund Ltd, comments:

“The Dormant Assets Scheme has a clear purpose and a unique role in uniting public, private and third sectors to deliver a demonstrable, positive impact in our most vulnerable communities.

“We are delighted to open the Scheme to financial institutions with dormant insurance and pensions assets enabling them to participate alongside established banks and building societies. The Scheme is straightforward to join, tightly regulated and carefully managed so customers can trust in the lifelong promise that they can reclaim any dormant assets at any point in time.”

Jane Hanson, CBE, Chair, Reclaim Fund Ltd & Dormant Assets Expansion Board:

“I am thrilled that all the work undertaken by industry, government and RFL has come to fruition with the expansion of the Dormant Assets Scheme.

“This is a prime example of how industry and government can work together and innovate responsibly to deliver demonstrable social value. At a time when the rising cost of living continues to afflict communities across the UK, participating in the Dormant Assets Scheme has never been more important.”

Delivering social impact through dormant assets funding

Dormant assets funding is distributed through the National Lottery Community Fund across the four nations of the UK in line with policy direction from the Government and devolved administrations.

In England, dormant assets funding is used to support financial inclusion, youth and social investment through four dormant assets spend organisations: Big Society Capital; Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, Fair4All Finance and Youth Futures Foundation. In March 2023, following a public consultation, the Government announced that funding for these causes would continue, alongside a new cause, community wealth funds.

Minister for Civil Society and Youth, Stuart Andrew comments:

“Opening the Dormant Assets Scheme to new sectors will provide an additional pipeline of crucial funding to support disadvantaged young people, help those in financial difficulty and boost social investment.”

“By participating in the Scheme, financial institutions can make a huge difference in transforming lives and communities, and support causes that are consistent with their social purpose and priorities.”

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith comments:

“This is a significant moment for the Dormant Assets Scheme and an important reminder of the Financial Services sector’s vital role in driving economic growth and supporting communities and citizens across the UK.

“I look forward to working with Aviva and other industry participants as the Scheme opens up to additional asset classes throughout the year, unlocking millions of pounds for good causes across the country.”

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