Press release

Dormant Assets Commission: new commissioners announced

Eight new commissioners will help unlock billions of pounds worth of dormant assets that have been untouched for more than 15 years.


The chair of the new Dormant Assets Commission, Nick O’Donohoe, has today announced that 8 new commissioners will help unlock as much as £1 billion in funding for good causes.

The commissioners, who have backgrounds in banking, investment management, insurance and professional services, will be tasked with unlocking huge sums of money for the charity sector. They are renowned experts within their fields and will provide an exceptional breadth and depth of experience.

Their expertise will help the Commission to work with industry to identify new pools of unclaimed assets, which can include stocks, shares, pensions and bonds, and put the assets towards charitable causes.

The Dormant Assets Commission will build on the success of the current Dormant Accounts Scheme where banks and building societies contribute accounts that have been untouched for 15 years to good causes.

Since the Dormant Accounts Scheme started in 2008, more than £850 million worth of dormant accounts have been volunteered by banks and building societies.

The Commission’s examination of how to unlock further assets offers the possibility of over £1 billion that could, in the future, help to revolutionise the way charities and the voluntary sector is funded.

The Commission will report to government by the end of 2016.

These strategies show the strength of our ambition for this sector, ensuring that more and more people are using their money to transform lives and encourage economic growth.

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson said:

The creation of the Dormant Asset Commission demonstrates that this government has ambitious plans to reform and improve the sector, enabling us to build an even more caring and compassionate country.

Thanks to this Commission, dormant assets which may otherwise have sat gathering dust will make a real difference to people’s lives. I have no doubt that Nick and the new commissioners are going to present a cast iron plan to help charities in the years ahead.

Chair of the Dormant Assets Commission, Nick O’Donohoe said:

Dormant Bank and Building Society accounts have already released £850 million which will help the voluntary sector address key social issues in the UK.

The newly launched Commission on Dormant Assets has the opportunity to build on that success by identifying further sources of unclaimed assets. Each commissioner brings valuable experience and insight which will ensure that no stone is left unturned in the search for additional sources of funding for good causes.

The Commission

Chair: Nick O’Donohoe, former Chief Executive of Big Society Capital


The Commission aims to support the government in identifying new pools of dormant assets and work with industry to encourage their contribution of these assets to good causes. Find out more in the Commission’s terms of reference.

What is a dormant account?

According to the Dormant Accounts Act, an account is ‘dormant’ at a particular time if:

  1. the account has been open throughout the period of 15 years ending at that time, but
  2. during that period no transactions have been carried out in relation to the account by or on the instructions of the holder of the account

The definition of dormancy varies asset by asset.

It is anticipated that any future scheme will run in a similar way to the Dormant Accounts Scheme. Customers are able to reclaim any lost assets at any time.

The government announced the new Commission on 19 December 2015. Read the press release.

Published 10 March 2016