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Beneficiaries of unclaimed assets worth R33.5bn sought

Members of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (Asisa) united policyholders, beneficiaries, investors and heirs with unclaimed assets worth R22.7 billion in 2021. Picture: Pixabay

Members of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (Asisa) united policyholders, beneficiaries, investors and heirs with unclaimed assets worth R22.7 billion in 2021. Picture: Pixabay

Published Jul 6, 2022

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Cape Town - The Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (Asisa) is looking for claimants of R33.5 billion in unclaimed assets held on behalf of policyholders, beneficiaries, investors and heirs.

Asisa senior policy adviser Rosemary Lightbody said an intensified effort by the organisation’s members ended with the organisation placing unclaimed assets worth R22.7bn in the hands of South Africans by the end of December last year.

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Lightbody said Asisa members began in 2021 with having to trace the legal owners of R32.3bn in unclaimed assets.

“Asisa’s tracing efforts reduced this amount by R22.7bn to R9.6bn, but unfortunately Asisa member companies had to classify another R23.8bn of assets across 60 837 policies and investment accounts as unclaimed during 2021.”

Lightbody said that in a world where policy documents and investment contracts are sent via email and usually stored electronically, it is often extremely difficult for beneficiaries and heirs to find policies and investments when someone dies.

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“Without access to someone’s computer or laptop, it is almost impossible to piece together their financial affairs. I would therefore like to encourage all consumers to ensure that a register of policy details, investment accounts as well as bank accounts is shared with someone trustworthy.”

She said the good news for the legal owners of unclaimed assets was that Asisa members had agreed to waive their rights in terms of the Prescription Act, which would normally allow them to cancel an individual’s right to claim an unpaid amount after three years.

Meanwhile, with regard to tracing unclaimed pension funds, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) said the Registrar of Pension Funds provides a central database on the FSCA website to assist members of the public to ascertain through the search engine if there are any unclaimed benefits due to them.

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The FSCA said: “The FSCA can only assist by providing the contact details of the relevant fund and/or administrator, whereafter the enquirer will have to contact the fund directly and then follow the normal claims process of a fund to prove a valid claim.”

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Cape Argus

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