More than a fifth (22%) of UK adults believe they have lost track of one of their shares or investments, leaving an estimated £5.3bn worth of investments dormant, according to a new study by Gretel.
Shares totalling £2.5bn owned by 2 million people are either lost or dormant, according to data from Intelliteq, which has developed Gretel as a free to use platform to help consumers track down their lost money.
The research estimates that lost or dormant shares have cost investors an average value of £1,250 per consumer, while £2.8bn worth of wealth and investments are in the same situation for 1m investors, an average of £2,800 each.
UK consumers are also estimated to have £37bn of lost or dormant pensions, averaging £23,125 per individual across 1.6m affected savers, while £4.5bn lies dormant within bank and building society accounts, for an average individual value of £450 across 10m adults.
People can lose touch with their investments when companies they hold shares in merge, or the investment company itself is merged, such as with the recent interactive investor acquisition of The Share Centre.
According to Gretel estimates, 19.6m adults in the UK have become disconnected with their assets in financial services products, leaving a collective value of more than £50bn across dormant or unclaimed funds.
Duncan Stevens, chief executive of Gretel, said: "Unfortunately it is all too easy to become disconnected from an investment fund, ISA or shares. We are working with the investment industry to show how our unique technology can help solve a number of challenges ranging from lowering the cost of customer reconnection, to digitisation of vulnerable customer journeys, to rectifying legacy data quality issues.
"We are talking to a number of asset management companies who can see the opportunities of getting ‘lost investors' to engage with their assets. We estimate that the average value of unclaimed shares is £1,250 per person rising to £2,800 for wider investments, which would make a big difference to people at this time."
This article was first published by our sister title Investment Week