Proposed legislation aimed at allowing money in dormant bank accounts held in the Island to be distributed to good causes locally will be laid before the House of Keys next week.
The Dormant Assets Bill will enable banks to move money from accounts which have had no customer activity for at least 15 years into a central fund held by the Treasury.
MHK Bill Shimmins will formally introduce the Bill for first reading – he says: “Dormant asset regimes are in place in many countries and enable funds to be released for public benefit.
“If successful this Bill has the potential to inject new revenue streams into our local community as all the money made available for distribution will be shared among good causes here in the Isle of Man.”
The core of the Bill focuses on the creation of the Dormant Assets Fund, which will be ring-fenced and identified separately from Government’s general revenue.
The rights of owners of any bank account affected by the proposed legislation will be protected as anyone whose money transfers into the fund will have the right to reclaim their money indefinitely.
Subject to the fund retaining enough money to meet any repayment claims and operational costs, any surplus may be made available for distribution in the Island.
The Bill specifies criteria for the types of charitable purposes that may benefit, including causes supporting the advancement of health, education, arts, culture, heritage, science and the environment.
The distribution of funds will be administered by a third party. As the Bill progresses, proposals will be brought forward for the appointment of a distribution organisation, which will be subject to Tynwald approval.
Similar legislation has worked successfully since 2008 in the UK, with a 15-year dormancy rule applied, and has succeeded in supporting projects in recent years to combat homelessness and help disadvantaged young people.
Jersey introduced a dormant asset regime in 2017 and Guernsey is considering its policy in relation to establishing a scheme.
Anyone who thinks they may have a ‘lost’ or dormant account should contact their bank.