The New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission has been tracking unclaimed financial property through a new program.
And, in its first year, the commission found $30 million in unclaimed property in the province — only about $650,000 of it has been claimed so far.
The Unclaimed Property Program launched about a year ago and the online database became available to New Brunswickers in September, Marissa Sollows, the director of communications and public affairs for the Financial and Consumer Services Commission, told Shift.
Sollows said this all stems from the Unclaimed Property Act, which is a consumer protection act that requires businesses in the province to review their books and remit any unclaimed property to the commission.
“We keep that in a fund and have a searchable database on the FundsFinderNB website,” said Sollows.
New Brunswickers can go to the FundsFinderNB website and type in their name to see if they are owed any money.
She said unclaimed funds can include forgotten paychecks, security deposits, cheques that were never cashed, insurance policy payouts or forgotten investment accounts.
“The only thing that this does not cover are any deposits in a federal bank,” said Sollows, “They have their own program for that through the Bank of Canada.”
Sollows said it’s actually common for people to have unclaimed property.
“People move around a lot, your address changes, you get married and your contact information changes, it could be that you left a job and didn’t update your address for your previous employers so they had nowhere to send your cheque,” said Sollows, “There are a lot of different ways and reasons that things can be unclaimed.”
She said this can also happen with life insurance or retirement plan payouts.
Shift – NB9:13Unclaimed Property
If a beneficiary can’t be located because the company didn’t have up-to-date information for them, then that money would have nowhere to go until claimed.
Sollows said there is also information on the FundsFinderNB website to help New Brunswickers better understand how to prevent their money from going unclaimed in the future.
“Just some nice tips for how to keep your financial life neat and tidy so that you don’t lose track of money that is rightfully yours,” she said.
Sollows said New Brunswickers can find their unclaimed property by searching their name in the FundsFinderNB website.
If unclaimed property is found, the owner will be prompted to submit documents to prove they are the rightful owner.
Once those documents are reviewed by the commission, the owner will receive the money by cheque in the mail or they will be connected to the company that is holding the funds.