Participation is voluntary – including whether firms join the Scheme and what eligible assets they choose to transfer. For effective participation and to ensure that only genuinely dormant assets are transferred into the Scheme as far as possible, participating sectors should have in place and use best practice guidance on managing dormant assets. Many already do, and government has recognised the hard work that has gone into developing and implementing these. For example, the banking sector currently uses its “10 core pledges” as a guide to reunification efforts.
Investments that are designed to be held for long periods will not automatically be included in the Scheme; it is only where they are genuinely dormant that they would be included. The term “dormant” has been defined as appropriate to the specific industry, and asset type, including its term.
Each firm is required to take active steps to trace and reunite an owner with their assets. Only where an asset is genuinely dormant, and where firms are unable to reunite owners with their asset, would this be transferred to the Scheme. Even then, owners can reclaim the amount that would have been due to them if the asset were never transferred into the Scheme.
The Dormant Assets Act 2022 includes the requirement for a consultation on how future funds are spent. The government plans to launch the public consultation in Summer 2022. This will give current and future participants, as well as the general public, a say in how future funds are spent in England. The current restrictions of youth, financial inclusion and social investment will continue until any new arrangements come into force. There are no plans to amend how funds are utilised in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.