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Jersey To Use Dormant Account Balances For Charity

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
16 March, 2016

Jersey's Assistant Chief Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, has lodged a proposal to use money in "dormant" bank accounts to help charitable causes.

Accounts are considered dormant when contact has been lost with the customer, or where no instructions have been received from the customer, for at least 15 years.

The proposed draft Dormant Bank Accounts Law would transfer money in dormant bank accounts to a new fund, which would be called the Jersey Reclaim Fund. The proposed legislation, which would be similar to the UK's, would contain strict safeguards for bank customers: an account holder would still be able make a claim for repayment through their bank to the Jersey Reclaim Fund at any time. The bank would repay their funds and then seek the balance from the Fund.

As well as supporting charitable work, the legislation would be advantageous for banks, because they would be able to remove liabilities from their balance sheets. Significant reserves would have to be kept by the Government to ensure that any claims by bank customers could be repaid by the Reclaim Fund.

The funds would be used solely for charitable purposes, including to help fund:

  • Public participation in sport in Jersey;
  • Advancement of the arts, culture, and heritage in Jersey; and
  • Health, education, or environmental projects in Jersey.

The fund could also be used to establish the long-awaited Charities Commissioner. This body would seek to both strengthen and protect the island's charitable sector, as well as promote the island as a center for international philanthropy.

Ozouf said "The draft Dormant Accounts Law is a significant step forward which, if adopted, could bring considerable benefits to local good causes. The legislation moves us into line with other countries and has the additional benefit of further boosting the Island's reputation as a center for international philanthropy."

"A great deal of careful work has been undertaken to finalize these proposals. My team look forward to briefing Scrutiny and taking the legislation to the States Assembly so that it can come into force later this year."

"At long last, unclaimed money left dormant in accounts, with the strictest of controls and processes to provide reassurance to customers, will be able to be made available for good causes."

The draft Dormant Bank Accounts Law will be debated in the States Assembly next month.

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