IT IS ESTIMATED THAT there is some R80-million held by banks, insurance companies and retirement funds that belongs to people they can’t find. The money has been left in bank accounts, pensions and insurance policies, and the companies have lost track of the customers due to changes of address or changes of name.It is apparently an expensive – and often futile – exercise to try and find old customers, so these institutions don’t do it much. But in 2003, a company called Benefit Recovery Services was established to bring this money and its owners together. What it has done is to encourage members of the public to add their names to a large contact database. The company then tries to match your details with the information connected to the various accounts and policies held by the financial and insurance institutions.

Their aim, according to Benefit Recovery Services, is simple: “We will match unclaimed monies found in financial service companies to our large database of people with contact information. We will contact the person/people and help them to receive what is due to them.
”To get your details onto the database, you need to register them by phoning , or send an email to , or register on the Internet at The registration process is free, and the company ensures that your information is kept confidential.How, you may ask, does the money get ‘lost’ in the first place? Some of the more common ways that this might happen are:

When you move house and forget to tell all your service providers your new address
When you change your name or maritalstatus
When endowment policies taken out with mortgage bonds and later cancelled
When you cancel policies you thought were worthless
When you stop payment on policies, without realising they may have some value
Unclaimed policies that have matured
Unclaimed Retirement Annuities that have matured
When you were part of a company pension scheme at a previous job, but have lost contact with the employer
 What happens to the publics lost millions?
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