The total value of unclaimed assets in South Africa’s financial sectors stands at nearly 90 billion rands ($5.1 billion), Moneyweb news portal reported.

Almost half of them are unclaimed pension funds, while collective investment schemes and life insurers hold another 38%, Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) commissioner Unathi Kamlana said.

He added that the quantum of funds unclaimed remains a concern, but good progress has been made in tracing beneficiaries in recent years.

A total of 97,227 pension fund beneficiaries were paid out 3.45 billion rands, taking total unclaimed benefits to about 37.7 billion rands since 2010.

Central securities depository participants, responsible for processing dividend transfers, had unclaimed assets of 4.5 billion rands belonging to 391,000 account holders in 2019.

The five banks canvassed by the FSCA had 5.7 million dormant accounts with 3.36 billion rands in funds, Kamlana said.

FSCA recommended establishing a centralised database of unclaimed funds and a dedicated “central unclaimed assets fund” to receive and manage unclaimed assets, the report stated.

He added that these unclaimed funds could be invested for the public good, focusing on social, environmental and developmental upliftment.

(Editing by Seban Scaria