By Malcolm Stacey | Tuesday 13 June 2017
Hello Share Splitters. You may be sitting on a pile of share money you know nothing about. As a prolific share trader since the Big Bang in the ‘eighties, I have share certificates in which I abandoned interest because the shares shed a lot of their value.
But we all know it has been known for no-hopers to suddenly revive. If you have certificates which are squirrelled away in one of your bottom drawers, you may be unaware of your hidden riches. This could happen for many reasons. Perhaps the registrar lost your address or you may have changed your house.
I have been sent a letter from an asset recovery firm. It says I have £7000 unclaimed amount of money, relating to shares. It asks for a commission, but only if it recovers it. My first uncharitable thought was that this was some sort of fiddle. Uncle Tom was consulted and advised me to be careful.
So I began some heavy research. I found nothing to suggest this is anything but a responsible and respectable company. You don’t pay a cent until the proceeds are securely stored in your bank. And it is not the only one. Other asset recoverers, some owned by share registrars, do the same sort of thing. The rate of commission I was quoted was initially set at 25%, though, which is high. You can have a similar service for as low as 12%.
In the light of that, I went through my old share certificates to see if I could isolate the lucky company myself. This is hard to do. Registrars have been taken over by other registrars over the years. Companies have changed names. They have been taken over, too.
Experian has a long list of financial companies which you can search by putting your name and old addresses in. It includes at least two share registrars. But you have to pay £25, including VAT. HMRC, the tax office, also has a free list of firms which ended up with no assets. This may help you to eliminate some companies from your enquiries.
On the other hand, if you know the names of entities which might owe you money, you might phone registrars and ask them to check. Apparently, there’s a legal obligation for companies sitting on your cash, which includes registrars I should imagine, to do all that’s reasonable to let you know about it.
I am holding out against the asset detective firm which knows which company owes me. Naturally enough, it won’t name the source as it needs to make a living. In the end I may have to give up. Meanwhile my private hunt continues.
If you think you may have some share proceeds you don’t know about, it might be worth starting your own search, using the tips I give above. But it goes without saying that you should take precautions. For example, never give any bank details or make any payments until any lost money is definitely in your account.
I wish someone would lose the Punter’s Return.
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