Category Archives: Unclaimed funds

Canada – such a great Country but

Dear Canada

We love Canada butWe love you but It does not compute

Such a great nation. So progressive in so many ways:

  • One of the wealthiest Countries in the world with the 8th highest per capita income globally
  • The 11th highest ranking Country in terms of Human Development
  • A proud member of the G8 (Group of 8 leading industrialized countries) , G10 (Group of 10 Economic Partners), and G-20 (Group of 20 Major economies in the world),
  • Openness to global trade & commerce as demonstrated by our alliances with NATO (National Atlantic Treaty Organization), NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) etc.
  • One of the most transparent and stable business climates in the world making Canada the 6th most attractive investment destination in the world (2014 Index of Economic Freedom)
  • An enviably strong & stable financial system as shown by the ability to withstand global financial turmoil in recent years with limited disruption
  • An excellent reputation for our judicial system which demonstrates an impeccable record of independence & transparency where private property is well protected including intellectual property rights consistent with world standards 

And yet…

Only 2 Provinces in Canada (being Quebec and Alberta) or 34% of the current population of Canada is safeguarded for financial risk by having Comprehensive Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation in force . Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation is considered wisely and widely as an essential element of Consumer Protection

Apparently, not in Canada yet. 

 Estimates of Unclaimed Intangible Property (AKA Unclaimed Financial Assets) range as high as $6 Billion for Canada. That number is increasing at an alarming rate and will continue to do so for a multitude of reasons.

We’ve built a simple, secure solution that helps individuals and families better organize their important information in order to 1) Engage more proactively in financial/estate planning,   2) Enhance their level of emergency preparedness and 3) to help safeguard hard-earned financial assets from being lost or forgotten

But we also think that all Canadians deserve to have their financial assets safeguarded by Unclaimed Property Legislation. We’d like to know what you think:

Orphan Policies increase the risk of Unclaimed Policies

What makes it even more likely that an Insurance policy may go unclaimed  ?

Orphan Policies 

To clarify, Orphan policies do not relate to coverage for Orphans but rather to the fact that over time, lots of policyholders become “unattached” to a servicing agent. The policy holders become Orphans in a sense.

A recent article from  Insurance Business entitled Orphan Policyholders – How many are there ? noted :

Life insurance

Statistics vary about how many policyholders are orphans with figures being reported as high as 50 per cent for some companies. In an economic downturn more agents tend to leave the business, which creates more orphans. This suggests that the number of orphans likely has increased over the last several year.

 

The same article notes a recent survey conducted by Toronto based NewLink Group that estimated orphan policies being as high as 36% of personal life policy holders in Canada and 29% in the U.S. Orphan policies are more likely to be those purchased from a life agent/broker (41 % in Canada & 39% in the U.S.) as compared to those purchased from a financial planner or advisor (18 % in Canada & 22 % in the U.S.)

Whats at risk when a policy becomes orphaned ?

  • Beneficiary changes
  • Address changes
  • Insurance policy maturities as well as
  • Awareness of an actual claim occurring

A major gap develops when individuals and families may no longer have a direct contact with their contract provider by way of servicing agent. Unclaimed policies are more likely to be at risk of becoming unclaimed.  Orphaned policies may provide another reason why industry experts have estimated that Unclaimed policies may be as high as 20-30% of all life insurance policies

 

 

show me the money

Show me State wants to Show more Unclaimed Bonds

The “Show Me” State Legislature of Missouri is moving forward with legislation to move more money into the hands of its residents (and the State Treasury)

If new legislation becomes law, the State Treasurer, Clint Zweifel will start the process of redeeming US Savings Bonds currently held by the Federal Government when those bonds have been misplaced or lost in order to help reunite Missourians with their money. That amount is potentially in the Millions of Dollars.

The Benefit to the State? Missouri would safeguard the cash value of the bonds for owners and enable the State’s Unclaimed Property team to work towards finding the rightful owners. Owners or heirs would find federal bonds using www.showmemoney.com as they do for other financial assets safeguarded by the State of Missouri.

The State Treasury already holds more than $810 million in Unclaimed Property for more than 4.7 million owners. During Fiscal Year 2013, the State Treasurer returned a record-breaking $39.5 million to more than 135,000 accounts.

The Bank of Canada (as of December 2013) holds approximately $420 Million in Canada Savings Bonds that have matured but have not been redeemed. While Canadians can search the database on the Bank of Canada website for Unclaimed bank accounts (Federally chartered bank accounts (held in Canadian Dollars only) where there has been no activity for more than 10 years, there is no equivalent site for Unclaimed Canada Savings Bonds.

Yes. The US has an estimated $58 Billion in Unclaimed Funds

And yes….

$58 Billion in Unclaimed Funds or Financial Assets is a lot of Money.

But the very good news is that it’s fairly organized in terms of where to find it as opposed to say Canada.

Here’s an infographic provided by the Money Blog of NPR. It provides a breakdown of the $18 Billion or so that was held as of last year by the Federal Treasury of the US. This is just the Federal Amount of Unclaimed Money whereas each State has their stockpile as well that awaits the legal owners to find it; that’s another estimated $41.7 Billion

$16 Billion in Unclaimed Savings Bonds can be found here at treasuryhunt.gov

$900 Million in Unclaimed Tax Refunds (which expire after 3 years) can be found here 

If you want to check out the State Treasuries for Unclaimed funds you can find a link to each State at the national Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators website unclaimed.org 

 

$18 Billion in Unclaimed Cash in the Federal Treasury

$18 Billion in Unclaimed Cash in the Federal Treasury

 

 

 

 

SaskPower is looking for Unclaimed Bond Holders

SaskPower’s  tag line seems pretty appropriate we think…

SaskPower is looking for Unclaimed Bond Holders and we think that’s pretty great. They have taken a proactive approach to reuniting bond holders with their long-lost bonds by posting a list of those bond holders on their website. Those bond holders are owed bonds & interest valued at approximately $380,000. These bonds were issued from 1984-1991

Take a look for yourself, a friend or a loved one here 

Wouldn’t it be great if every Organization took a proactive approach to help reunite legal owners with their lost or unclaimed financial assets ? Wouldn’t it be great if the Bank of Canada provided the list of $420 million outstanding in Unclaimed Canada Savings Bonds ?

What kind of Economic Action would that stimulate at pretty much $0 cost?

 

Updated Snapshot – Unclaimed Financial Assets in Canada

Here’s a snapshot of why we worry about Unclaimed Financial Assets in Canada by way of some “Fast Facts” . No matter what you call them be that, Unclaimed/Lost or Abandoned Money/ Financial Assets or Funds or more technically speaking, Unclaimed Intangible Assets or Property,  the problem is BIG and the value is growing and will continue to do so in the future.

Some Fast yet hard to Find Facts about Unclaimed Financial Assets in Canada

Some Fast yet hard to Find Facts about Unclaimed Financial Assets in Canada

Canada is not alone with this growing problem – It’s a global problem but around the globe most Countries have Unclaimed Property Legislation in place as an important part of Consumer Protection and as a WIN/WIN for Consumers and the Government themselves (The majority of those Governments use the unclaimed assets while proactively looking for the legal owners). The value of Unclaimed Property is approximately $58 Billion in the US. In Canada, most estimate the problem to be approximately $4-$6 Billion. That’s a big range because no one knows for certain.

Facts on Unclaimed Financial Assets are hard to find in Canada, given that there are only 2 provinces with any type of comprehensive  legislation relating to Unclaimed funds in place & Alberta doesn’t seem to want to share that information yet. We have a white paper as well that is in draft form if you are looking for more information – please contact us

LottoMax $50M winner

In Ontario a Lucky Lotto Winner won $50M but Missing Bond Owners have $65M waiting

Sophie Rizavas is ONE lucky Ontario Lady- she’s a new multimillionaire following her jackpot win in the May 9 Lotto Max draw. She won $50M. Nice. (She also won $5 for matching the first 2 numbers of her Encore play).

$50M is a lot of money.  I’ve always thought that such a big win is way too much for just one winner. Who really needs $50 Million? So yes,  I wish more lucky families were sharing this win. I don’t think Sophie Rizavas would even mind that. But due to some very nice timing, I can let you know that there could be other winners in Ontario that don’t even have a ticket. Because, this week I finally found the number. The value of Outstanding Ontario Savings Bonds that have matured but have yet to be redeemed. In my world we call that UNCLAIMED financial assets. The value of those Unclaimed Ontario Savings Bonds as of March 2013 was: 

$56,013,600.00 + Interest of $9,592,169.00 that’s…

$65,605,769 unclaimed 

A letter may have been sent to the owners who originally purchased these bonds, but the owner may have moved or may have died or may be incapacitated and their family has no way of knowing about the Bond. The Ontario Savings Bond Team has indicated to me they “do not have any authority to find the owner(s) of the unclaimed bonds”

I am seeking more info from the Ministry related to these bonds but I’m not allowed to ask many questions given that an election is in progress.   In the meantime, if you have reason to believe that an Ontario Savings Bond has gone missing in your family connect with the Ontario Savings Bond Office. 

1-888-212-BOND (2663)  or visit the website for more info 

Unclaimed Ontario Savings Bonds

Call them if you think someone in your family has misplaced a bond

Canada launches a 50 Year Bond. Really ?

canada-savings-bonds

Allow me to comment on the idea and now the reality of the Bank of Canada issuing 50 year bonds

On April 28th, Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced that the Government of Canada had indeed successfully issued $1.5 Billion in 50 year bonds maturing December 1 2064 at 2.96%.  He summarized as follows:

“In the current environment, it is both advantageous and prudent for our Government to lock in additional long-term funding. This 50-year bond will help us meet our goal of raising stable and low-cost funding to meet Canada’s financial needs and best serve taxpayers.”

I get that. It’s cheap debt for 50 years.

However, as the obsessed Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation Advocate that I am for Canada…I’m obviously worried about how many Canadians will lose track of this 50 year bond. While I have not yet been able to pry the list of Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds from the Government to calculate the average time it has taken to lose a Canada Savings Bond it’s a lot less than 50 years…

The value of Unclaimed/matured Canada Savings Bonds already exceeds $420 Million 

So, how many of these 50 year bonds will be forgotten by December 2064 (more) ?

Sad but true. Sorry I’m sarcastic but advocating for Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation across the Land is exhausting work, It should not be so difficult to bring some awareness and concern to this issue given:

  1.  The estimated value of Unclaimed Financial Assets in Canada is somewhere between $4-6 Billion already
  2. The rate of increase for financial assets is already alarming. Unclaimed bank accounts increased by $181 Million (52% ) on a net basis over the past 5 years. Unclaimed Canada Savings Bonds increased by $161 Million (37% annualized ) over the past 20 months.
  3. For a multitude of reasons the rate of increase in financial assets becoming unclaimed will only increase without legislation and a solution in place (we’re working on both)
  4. Canada is so far behind in putting into place, Consumer Protection legislation to safeguard lost financial assets for Canadians and their families. It’s tragic and sad. The US has had comprehensive legislation in place for 50+ years. Legislation exists in most Countries including the UK,  Australia, New Zealand, Kenya etc.

For information about how to change the ownership of a bond, or the address of a bond holder or what to do about a lost, stolen or destroyed Bond please refer to the Bank of Canada website here   The rules, regulations and process is a bit overwhelming. Unfortunately, unlike the US and unlike the case of the $532 Million in unclaimed bank accounts relating to CDN $ accounts once held at a Federally Chartered Bank, there is no database of Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds available to search.

You need to call to make an inquiry so please do, because I know for a fact, unfortunately that they are not looking for you.

Law Society Unclaimed Trust monies UP

Yet another indication of the alarming increase in Unclaimed Financial Assets I keep lamenting about…The Law Society of Upper Canada just released their 2013 Annual Report.

Unclaimed Trust Funds increased by $454,215 in 2013 to $3.2 Million

 

Law Society of Upper Canada Unclaimed Trust Funds

Unclaimed Trust Funds (Page 2)
Unclaimed trust funds continue to increase, now totalling $3.2 M as compared to $2.7 M at the end of 2012. These are trust monies turned over to the Society by lawyers who are unable to locate or identify the clients to whom the monies are owed. To date, monies returned to clients from the fund have been nominal. By statute, the Society administers the unclaimed trust funds, in perpetuity, and is entitled to reimbursement
for administrative expenses to a limit of the annual income earned on funds held. Net income, if any, is available for transfer to the Law Foundation of Ontario (“LFO”). To date, administrative expenses have exceeded income and no transfers to the LFO have been made

More from the 2013 Financial Statements regarding  Unclaimed Trust Funds…

10. Unclaimed Trust Funds (Page 22)
Section 59.6 of the Law Society Act permits a member who has held money in trust for, or on account of, a person for a period of at least two years, to apply in accordance with the by-laws for permission to pay the money to the Society. Money paid to the Society is held in trust in perpetuity for the purpose of satisfying the claims of the persons who are entitled to the capital amount. Subject to certain provisions in the Act enabling the Society to recover its expenses associated with maintaining these funds, net income from the money held in trust shall be paid to the Law Foundation of Ontario. Unclaimed money held in trust
amounts to $3,195,000 (2012 – $2,747,000).

Source: Law Society of Ontario 2013 Financials here 

Unclaimed in Pennsylvania

Life insurance is an important safeguard for financial security for families and loved ones but  only if it does not get added to the Unclaimed Property balance.” So said State Treasurer Rob McCord of Pennsylvania. “Each year, Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property, a considerable portion of which are unpaid or uncollected life insurance benefits,”

Mr. McCord knows what he’s talking about because he and his department have reunited $13.2 M in unclaimed life insurance benefits with the rightful owners. However, a lot  more remains to be claimed with the help of the Treasury’s online database at www.patreasury.gov.

In the Great State of Pennsylvania, financial assets get paid to the Treasury after approximately 5 years of no contact with the owner, or in the case of life insurance policies, with the insured or the beneficiary. The “Holder Compliance Unit” within the Treasury’ has increased their efforts considerably to collect dormant life insurance proceeds and make insurers aware of their obligations under Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property law.

The annual deadline for insurance companies to report & remit dormant or unpaid life insurance proceeds is each year on April 15th… writing off unclaimed property as income does not relieve this liability

Since 2009, Treasury has collected $123 M in unpaid life insurance benefits from several of the nation’s largest insurers The, $13.2 M noted earlier is part of this total which has been paid to beneficiaries; it`s an ongoing effort to collect from the Insurance holder and find and payout the rightful claimant.

Of course Unclaimed Insurance Policies are just part of a bigger pool of Unclaimed Financial Assets that are collected from Organizations in accordance with legislation in order that the State can help find legal owners. Since January 2009, the Pennsylvania Treasury has collected more than $1.1 B  in unclaimed property, returned more than $532 M in unclaimed property to the rightful owners, and adding about $617 M  to the State’s General Fund via the Unclaimed Property Program. That leaves approximately $2.2 B in unclaimed property. That`s a lot of unclaimed property for a population of approximately 13 million

Have you ever lived in Pennsylvania or know someone else that has? Check out the database here  www.patreasury.gov.

$2B in Unclaimed Money

Sunday Reading worth $2 Billion +

How great would it be to spend a lazy Sunday morning reviewing unclaimed property listings in the hope that you might find your name or the name of a family member or friend that was owed some money that they had somehow become separated from? By money we mean any form of financial asset like an Unclaimed Bank account, or Insurance proceeds, or deposits or Unpaid Wages/Commissions or Shares, Dividends, Bonds,  or pension funds, or a Tax refund, or even the contents of safety deposit boxes etc. The list is long in terms of the type of asset which makes the list of names become bigger each year.

The Office of the Massachusetts Treasurer publishes at least once a year, the names of all those who appear on the Unclaimed Property files maintained by the State. Well, It’s actually a supplement to the Sunday Paper given the fact that the list now exceeds 58 pages.

Yes 58 Pages worth some $2.4 Billion.

The State of Massachusetts estimates that 1 out of every 10 people have unclaimed property. 

Like all US States, Massachusetts has had unclaimed property legislation in place for many years for financial assets in order to:

  • Protect the property rights of owners and reunite them with their funds
  • To promote a central point of contact for owners to claim unclaimed funds
  • To ensure that any organization that holds a financial asset transfers it to the State

The newspaper supplement is just one of the methods that the State Treasurer uses to return unclaimed property to rightful owners. They also send notices to the last known address of course by they also participate in Outreach programs like attending local fairs, malls, baseball games and nursing homes in order to connect and hopefully reunite owners with their unclaimed property. They also attend groups meetings upon request.

Helping folks find missing money …would be a great job.

In any case, the efforts of the State treasury seem to be paying off..  Last year the Treasurer returned some $102 Million to 43,000 individuals 

Have you ever been to Massachusetts ? Have a friend or Relative there?  Check the online database for yourself or someone you know and make it a Sunny Sunday..

Search here

Sadly and so surprisingly for a Country as great as Canada , we are years behind the US in making searching and reclaiming unclaimed financial assets so civilized. Only 2 Provinces – Alberta and Quebec have any sort of comprehensive Unclaimed Property Legislation. The Province of BC does have some legislation but it is not comprehensive nor is it mandatory in all respects. The US has always considered Unclaimed Property Legislation as an important part of Consumer Protection Legislation. The current total is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $58 Billion for the US. For Canada, it’s anyone’s guess but most guesses are somewhere between $4 Billion and $6 Billion. The Bank of Canada accounts for approximately $1 Billion alone.

LegacyTracker provides a simple, secure way for individuals & families to safeguard all of their important documents & information in order that hard-earned financial assets do not become unclaimed.  LegacyTracker is a white label product perfect for Financial Service Organizations & Providers who will recognize the WIN/WIN benefit of offering a branded personal financial/estate organizing solution to their clients and account holders.

Lost Bonds? Can including them in an RRSP reduce the risk?

Do Bonds Belong in an RRSP?

If it reduces the chance that the Bond becomes a “Lost Bond”  I think that’s a good reason to include Bonds in an RRSP

canada-savings-bondsA recent blog post (April 24th)  caught our interest as posts from the Canadian Couch Potato often do. This particular post was whether or not Bonds should be held within an individual’s RRSP. You can link and read this post here  

The post gave a thorough analysis for readers to consider which including a lot of factors like bond interest being fully taxable (versus dividends/capital gains), asset allocation considerations, comparable yields, RRIF withdrawal rules, foreign tax withholding etc.

The post from Dan Bortolotti was a summary of the work that he and & Justin Bender did in their white paper on the subject  including their full methodology. Their white paper Asset Location for Taxable Investors can be found here 

Again, Dan and Justin’s conclusions were based on a multitude of factors but they concluded that, it would have been preferable to hold bonds in an RRSP during the last decade. Those factors all need to be considered or re-considered going forward. But, I would like to humbly offer another factor going forward for their consideration…the risk of actual physical loss of the Bonds …will keeping the bonds inside an RRSP reduce the risk of them being lost all together ?

Because, the fact is that too many bonds are being lost and ending up unclaimed.

As of last December, the Bank of Canada has $420 Million in Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds waiting to be claimed. Earlier this month, I received confirmation that Ontario had $64 Million in Unclaimed/Matured Ontario Savings Bonds as of March 2013, waiting to be claimed.

In both instances, there is no one within the Government looking for those owners. I have volunteered to do so. We will see if they accept my offer because I find it tragically sad that Canadian investors are losing track of their hard-earned financial assets including Bonds. What makes matter worse is that the Unclaimed interest earned by those bonds has most likely been taxed along the way. (Yes, It would be interesting to know if the T5’s reached the bond owner directly or if their returns were reassessed for that interest)

Assumption Alert

I’m going to make an assumption here that there is a better chance that an individual, a loved one or an executor will have a better chance of finding and locating an RRSP than a Bond certificate that could have very well been lost, destroyed, or misplaced somewhere along the way to it maturing. So…on the basis of that Assumption I think Bonds do belong in an RRSP. 

The Bluegrass State knows how to return Green (Cash)

Kentucky is looking to push forward & further on their quest to return unclaimed money

That`s the mission in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky for Todd Hollenbach, the State Treasurer. Mr. Hollenbach  has been spreading joy across the State over the past 6 years where his office has returned more than $100 million in unclaimed property to rightful owners in that time.

It`s a pretty incredible record given that it`s more than all the state treasurers combined returned in the 60 years before Mr. Hollenbach came into office. (Kentucky`s Unclaimed Property Program dates back to 1942) But Mr. Hollenbach is determined to do more. He vowed recently to return $120 Million before his term ends in 2015 by visiting all 120 counties in Kentucky (Hence his 120 in 120 slogan)

Last year the the Kentucky State Treasury collected a record of $53 Million in unclaimed financial assets from property holders, including banks and insurance companies. The State currently holds some $150 Million in total Unclaimed property. That`s a lot of money for a State of approximately 4.4 Million

Mr. Hollenbach attributes much of the success in returning unclaimed property to a volunteer program called “Treasure Finders.” which includes establishing a phone bank, enlisting volunteers to review property listings, calling residents to inform them of potential unclaimed property and providing assistance in completing claim forms. 

(HOW GREAT A JOB IS THAT ? )

Even if the State is not successful in returning unclaimed property it`s a WIN for the State and a win for taxpayers as money not returned goes into the General Fund to pay for identified programs like education, That`s the WIN WIN in having Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation in place.

Read the entire article here 

Want to look for any unclaimed money in Kentucky go here 

UNCLAIMED ACCOUNTS BANK OF CANADA

Q/A To/From the Bank of Canada on their $1.6 M error

After reading the Bank of Canada 2013 Annual Report issued a few weeks back I was stunned to read that they had made a $1.6 Million “inappropriate payment” Stunned because it’s ….THE BANK OF CANADA and stunned because I have yet to find anyone else that drew any attention to the error.  So I proceeded to ask for more information regarding this matter and a few other items including some questions & comments relating to other Unclaimed Amounts including unclaimed/matured Canada Savings Bonds (which I understand now total $420 Million)

I was happy to receive their reply although I can’t say I’m any clearer on how it’s possible that $1.6 Million was paid out “inappropriately” and while I still don’t know if anyone else has concerns about this matter,  I thought I would provide their reply here on my blog.

Their reply to other questions I posed about other Unclaimed amounts will follow shortly as I try to understand their correspondence.

Question to the Bank of Canada re: 2013 Annual Report

Your report notes that

“During 2013, the Bank discovered that $1.6 million had been inappropriately paid to an organization as a result of multiple claims submitted by that organization. The Bank has taken action to recover the funds, and the accounts have been reinstated on the UCBS registry.” Your notes go on further to note that this matter related to the processing of complex multi-account claims made by corporate entities, which have a greater risk of error.”

This is concerning to say the least given the role that the Bank of Canada holds for all Canadians in promoting stability and efficiency of our financial systems & controls and the role the Bank of Canada generally takes in managing our financial risk.

I have a hard time understanding how the appropriate due diligence procedures were not in place to prevent this from very large error from occurring. It’s unclear whether the duplication of claims by the organization referred to was intentional or not. I would appreciate receiving more detailed insight into this issue particularly if this breakdown in internal controls is going to make it even more difficult for Ordinary Canadians to claim their hard earned/tax paid unclaimed balances going forward

Answer from the  Bank of Canada (received April 8 2014)

Since the spring of 2012, a charitable organization has made 4 claims related to unclaimed balances held by the Bank of Canada. 3 of these, valued cumulatively at $1.6 million were paid out in 2012 and 2013. In July 2013, the staff processing the claims became concerned when a fourth significant claim, valued at $1.4 million, was received, and raised the issue to the Bank’s legal department.  A full review of the claim revealed that the organization was not entitled to the accounts claimed, and efforts began immediately to retrieve the funds. The Bank is committed to safeguarding the funds of Canadians that are entrusted to it by law. As the fiduciary, the Bank has the obligation to pursue the return of improper payments. To date, $800,000 has been recovered from the organization. External legal counsel has been engaged to investigate and determine if there is a reasonable prospect of recovering additional funds.

The claims submitted were not duplicates. Based on the results of an independent forensic audit, we have found no evidence that the original requests were fraudulent. However, they did not meet the Bank’s requirements for payment.

A claimant has to file documentation to substantiate they have a valid claim to the funds they have identified. The applications are processed by a team of staff who review the application and related documentation. If title can be reasonably established, a cheque is issued to the claimant. Due to the completeness of the records maintained by the originating banks from whom the balances were transferred, as well as personal circumstances of the account holders, establishing absolute title is sometimes not possible and judgement must prevail.  This can especially be the case for individuals claiming on behalf of account owners who are since deceased, as well as for corporate entities that have been bought out, wound up or merged with other corporate entities. In some cases, a Bond of Indemnity is required when clear and absolute title cannot be established, indemnifying the Bank if a different owner subsequently establishes title to the account.

Upon identifying the weaknesses in the process through an internal review, steps were taken to strengthen the adjudication process and a number of new checks and balances have been established to ensure similar payments are not made. Procedures have been strengthened mainly in the processing of complex multi-account claims made by corporate entities and associations, which have a greater risk of error. The Bank’s requirements reflect the fact that the Bank acts as legal custodian of these funds for the rightful owners. Unclaimed Balances are not Bank of Canada funds, which is why the documentation requirements are in place.

The Bank of Canada has returned some $135 million to approximately 75,000 different account owners over the past 10 years. The Bank has robust practices bolstered by structures that allow the review of procedures and promote accountability, as well as transparency. Mistakes can occur in any organization. The Bank’s record is that when it discovers a mistake has been made, it takes immediate action to correct it. It also takes whatever steps are required to ensure that such an error does not reoccur.  That is exactly what the Bank has done in this instance.

Comments/Questions/Suggestions/ideas ? I would love to hear what other Canadians think