Unclaimed assets hit Sh31.3bn as firms surrender securities

Wednesday November 22 2017

Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority chief executive Kellen Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority chief executive Kellen Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By JAMES KARIUKI
More by this Author

Cash and securities whose owners cannot be traced have risen to Sh31.35 billion from September’s Sh27 billion.

The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) said the rise follows surrender of 75.71 million shares worth Sh3.65 billion held by custodial agents at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), bringing the total shares held to 317 million worth Sh20.96 billion as at November 8.

UFAA chief executive Kellen Kariuki said the agency has obtained a Central Depository Agency (CDA) licence that will enable it manage all shares surrendered by other CDAs and investment banks.

“We anticipate all the 317 million shares will be transferred to our CDA account once the process of setting up one is complete and that will enable us to unite the beneficiaries with shares belonging to them or their deceased relatives,” she said.

The shares will be held in trust together with Sh10.38 billion received in cash in the past three years bringing the total assets.

Ms Kariuki said companies handling unclaimed funds belonging to former customers and employees should surrender the same to the Ufaa whose details will be posted on its portal (www.ufaa.go.ke) enabling Kenyans to search for ‘lost’ funds.

“Many Kenyans, especially the retired ones could be leading impoverished lives oblivious of available funds in pensions, closed bank accounts, matured policies, sacco funds or even in securities. We are soon launching nationwide campaign to sensitise Kenyans on how they can be united with their money,” she said.

The agency said regulatory agencies must refer companies seeking licence renewal to Ufaa for clearance to compel them to surrender unclaimed assets.

All public and private entities are legally required to remit uncollected salaries, pensions, allowances, retirement benefits, securities among other monetary emoluments to Ufaa or risk severe penalties that could see a firm’s chief executive jailed or fined for non-compliance.