The federal Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer is urging all Australian business owners to check whether they are among those entitled to a share of $1.2 billion in unclaimed funds.
Kelly O’Dwyer said the massive pool of funds includes money from bank accounts, life insurance payouts, shares and other investments.
According to Ms O’Dwyer, there are around 1.3 million records of unclaimed money.
“The money is transferred to the Commonwealth and managed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) after bank accounts and life insurance payouts have been left unclaimed for seven years,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“There is a wide range of amounts of unclaimed money waiting to be claimed – from a few cents to over $1 million. There is $650 million in unclaimed bank accounts Australia-wide.”
She added that in the last financial year alone, $158.4 million was paid out to more than 25,000 people nationally.
ASIC’s MoneySmart website has a dedicated Unclaimed Money online search, whereby individuals and company operators can search for outstanding monies using their names.
There is no time limit on when claims can be made by individuals, but for companies and other investments there are various time frames of between one month and 10 years.
“We have heard great stories from people claiming back their money. For example, Emma Jane from South Australia is using her money to launch a new graphic art venture online and Christopher Hayne from Canberra is taking his wife on their first major international holiday,” Ms O’Dwyer said.