The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) has developed and deployed an online system that will facilitate filing, processing, and disbursement of over Sh51 Billion worth of unclaimed financial assets in cash, stocks, and other assets to rightful owners and beneficiaries.
The UFAA has also introduced an online holders’ reporting and surrenders system that will now make it easier for Kenyan holders to submit and surrender unclaimed financial assets in their possession.
The Authority is also in talks with Huduma Kenya to roll out UFAA’s services at Huduma Centers and Huduma Mashinani across the 47 counties in the country.
Disbursement of unclaimed financial assets grew from Sh30 million in 2016 to Sh1.2 billion by June 2021.
As of June 2021, remittances from entities amounting to Sh20.3 billion had been received into the Unclaimed Assets Trust Fund.
Reports had been made for 915 million units of shares valued at Sh30.5 billion. 2,873 unclaimed safe deposit boxes were also surrendered to the Authority.
UFAA’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Trustee, John Mwangi, says the Authority is now seeking approval of a National Policy on Unclaimed Assets that recommends legal amendments of the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act, 2011, and Unclaimed Financial Assets Regulations 2016 to enhance disbursements.
The legal frameworks in work have been cited as not favorable to claimants with low-value claims that form the bulk of unclaimed financial assets remitted to the Authority.
According to a recent customer survey report, potential claimants are discouraged from lodging low-value claims on account of stringent documentation and authentication requirements as provided for in the Act and Regulations.
“Procedure of obtaining UFAA’s services is considered complicated and cumbersome for claimants … especially a requirement to have all claim forms commissioned by lawyers,” the report noted.
“We have submitted a proposal to the National Treasury for the amendment of the Act and Regulations to address emerging reunification challenges experienced by the Authority over the years.”
The amendments seek to shorten processes and requirements for verifying claimants and widen unclaimed assets categories to include loyalty points and emerging virtual currencies that are not currently expressly captured in the Act. Fraud mitigation and data security remain central to these amendments.
Mwangi notes that these measures will be matched by continuous public sensitization campaigns to create awareness about the mandate of the Authority to both holders and claimants.