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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 September 2006, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Insurer acts on unclaimed shares
By Paul Lewis
BBC Radio 4's Money Box

Trevor Matthews, Standard Life
Mr Matthews said if the money was not claimed it could go to charity
A top director of Standard Life has said he will do more to track down 270,000 people who have still not claimed shares worth nearly 1,000 each.

They got the right to windfall shares when Standard Life converted from a mutual company to one owned by shareholders in July.

Most of the 2.4m members took their shares but 270,000 have still failed to claim theirs despite being written to six times.

Any shares unclaimed for 10 years will revert to Standard Life but its pensions director, Trevor Matthews, said they could then be given to charity.

He told BBC Radio 4's Money Box it was "quite astonishing; we can't believe it. We're standing here ready to give out this money. We've mailed these people six times since October 2005. We've even sent them pastel coloured postcards".

We want to give it away. It belongs to our policyholders. It is their money
Trevor Matthews, Standard Life
But Mr Matthews did admit that Standard Life had stopped using a specialist tracing service even though 80,000 of the missing people had in fact moved.

And he promised to restore information about what they should do to the Standard Life website.

"If there's not something on the website we'll make sure there is something on the website. Or what you can do is you can email us straight away at," he said.

At the moment, the 270,000 people have a right to 95m shares worth 256m, but Mr Matthews told the programme that Standard Life had no interest in keeping the money itself.

He said if it was not claimed it could go to charity: "We want to give it away. It belongs to our policyholders. It is their money.

"We'll try to give it away over the next 10 year period. At the end of that 10 years the board of directors will decide what to do with it, including - give it to charity."

The company confirmed that the shares would be kept for six years from the date of Standard Life's flotation in July 2006.

They would then be sold and the cash kept for a further four years.

Only after that would the directors at the time decide what to do with any money remained.

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday 30 September 2006 at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 1 October, at 2102 BST

Money Box



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