Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (166)

Éamon Ó Cuív


166. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the total contingent liability attached to the dormant accounts fund and if it is intended to take any steps to reduce this liability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9709/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As at 31 December 2012 the value of funds paid into the Dormant Accounts Fund, and not reclaimed, since its establishment in April 2003 was €386 million. This represents the amount which could be reclaimed from the Dormant Accounts Fund by account holders should they come forward. Up to 31 December 2012, the Dormant Accounts Fund had made total disbursements of €251 million leaving a balance, when realised income is included, of €160m remaining in the Fund. When this balance is deducted from the funds potential liability to account holders of €386 million the exchequer had a contingent liability of €226 million as at 31 December 2012. Section 17 of the Dormant Accounts Act 2001 sets out the mechanism for dealing with the contingency that funds may be reclaimed by their owners. The Dormant Accounts Fund consists of a ‘‘reserve account’’, moneys in which are applied to meet repayments to claimants, as well as to fees, costs and expenses of the National Treasury Management Agency which is responsible for the management of the Fund, and an ‘‘investment and disbursements account’’. It also provides that should the reserve account be depleted at any time, moneys will be paid into that account from the investment and disbursements account. If the investment account is also depleted, so that it cannot be used to service the reserve, advances will be made from the Central Fund, to the reserve account, such advances being repayable once there are surplus moneys in the Fund again.

Under Section 17(4) of the Dormant Accounts Act, 2001, the NTMA has determined, with the approval of the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, given with the consent of the Minister for Finance, that 15% of the total moneys received by the Fund and not yet reclaimed should be paid into the Reserve Account. The value of the Reserve Account at end 2012 was €58 million.

The level of the Reserve Account is reviewed annually as part of the investment plan for the Dormant Accounts Fund to ensure that it is sufficient to meet any anticipated claims by dormant account holders to re-activate their dormant accounts.