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Unclaimed assets up to Sh62bn on small claims

ufaa

Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority chief executive officer John Mwangi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The value of unclaimed assets including cash and shares hit Sh62 billion at the end of December, blamed on many low-value assets that do not motivate owners to claim.

The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) data shows the latest figure is an 11.5 percent jump from the Sh55.6 billion that the entity held at the end of 2022.

UFAA chief executive and managing trustee John Mwangi says the pile-up has come on the back of slowed reunification of the assets with the owners partly because 70 percent or Sh43.4 billion is in denominations of below Sh5,000.

“Out of the unclaimed Sh32 billion, 70 percent of it is in small denominations of less than Sh5,000, attributable to people forgetting their bank accounts, ignorance, relocation and death,” said Mr Mwangi in an interview. The high percentage of the assets with low values has posed a challenge to Ufaa due to the high cost of reunifying these assets with their owners when compared to the value. The amount has accumulated over the nine years that Ufaa has been operational.

Mr Mwangi says Ufaa collected Sh32 billion in period and is also holding 1.7 billion shares valued at Sh30 billion. Banks have submitted about 67.7 percent of the assets, followed by listed companies (16.9 percent), telcos (9.3 percent) and insurers (5.3 percent). Others have come from pension funds, Saccos and other sources.

Ufaa had in a separate disclosure put the percentage of unclaimed financial assets reunified with the rightful owners at 3.7 percent as at the close of June last year against a six percent target and a drop from 5.9 percent recorded in the previous year.

Assets become unclaimed purely because of the passage of time. Different assets have got different time horizons with the longest being five years.

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