Unclaimed assets of R33.5 billion in SA - could some of the money be yours?

Motheo Khoaripe interviews Rosemary Lightbody, Senior Policy Adviser at the Association for Savings and Investment SA.

© Maitree Boonkitphuwadon/123rf

Unclaimed assets of R22.7 billion were finally placed in the hands of South Africans last year thanks to "intensified tracing efforts" by the Association for Savings and Investment SA (Asisa).

But by the end of 2021 there was still R33.5 billion in the pot.

Asisa says the money is due to policyholders, beneficiaries, investors, and heirs who are either not aware of policies or have not claimed for unknown reasons.

© Maitree Boonkitphuwadon/123rf

Motheo Khoaripe (in for Bruce Whitfield) talks to Rosemary Lightbody, Asisa's Senior Policy Adviser for Market Conduct.

She explains when benefits are marked as unclaimed:

When Asisa developed the standard... we realised it's a very difficult thing to classify it with a hard and fast definition of what is 'unclaimed'... We leave it up to the individual company to use their common sense...

Rosemary Lightbody, Senior Policy Adviser: Market Conduct - Asisa

... but there are certain things logic dictates... When a policy, for example, reaches its maturity date, or communication is marked as 'undelivered'... That's a trigger event when it's time for the company to start doing some research... If they can't locate the person then it will labelled as unclaimed.

Rosemary Lightbody, Senior Policy Adviser: Market Conduct - Asisa

It's unfortunate, but especially with a long term savings or investment vehicle it's not always 'front of mind' for people... They forget about it... They may pass away without having given all of their information...

Rosemary Lightbody, Senior Policy Adviser: Market Conduct - Asisa

With documentation mostly stored electronically these days, there might also be passwords people do not know about, she says.

'It's not like you have paper records sitting around in a cupboard for somebody to find.'

Lightbody urges people to make sure that any insurance and investment companies have their latest details.

Also, keep a record of your financial details which you can then entrust to reliable advisers or family members.

The more information the better, so that they can contact that insurance company or that investment scheme company with the ID number of the customer and preferably also with the investment number...

Rosemary Lightbody, Senior Policy Adviser: Market Conduct - Asisa

It was R22.7 billion that they managed to locate during 2021... leaving behind R9.6 billion... but then there were further assets that had to be identified as unclaimed, which pushed the number back up again...

Rosemary Lightbody, Senior Policy Adviser: Market Conduct - Asisa

There are some 60 000 policies that are still unclaimed.

When these assets are classified as unclaimed, they don't fall into the shareholders of the company's hands... It never prescribes, so it's sitting there waiting... If you happen to find some paperwork from a relative who passed away ten, 20 years ago... that company will honour that policy.

Rosemary Lightbody, Senior Policy Adviser: Market Conduct - Asisa

For more detail, listen to the interview below:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Unclaimed assets of R33.5 billion in SA - could some of the money be yours?