Campaigns: FundsReunited puts the spotlight on lost £20bn

It’s estimated that £20bn is lying in forgotten accounts with UK financial institutions.

Campaign Launch of FundsReunited

Client FundsReunited

PR team Haygarth

Timescale Ongoing since May 2004

Budget £20,000-£30,000

FundsReunited launched in January with a mission to reunite some of that money with its rightful owners by charging a small search fee to hunt down money on customers’ behalf.

A couple of months later, Chancellor Gordon Brown announced plans to have banks and building societies donate these unclaimed assets to charity.


To drive consumers to invest in a search by convincing them that some of the £20bn could be theirs. To build up public awareness of FundsReunited’s service as an affordable and convenient one-stop shop where consumers could go to look for any forgotten funds.

Strategy and Plan

The target audience – and therefore the target media – for the campaign was broad, focusing on over-50s, ‘punters’ who would be willing to pay the search fee in the hope of finding something bigger and the general British working population.

The key message was to position FundsReunited as the consumers’ champion, helping them find their forgotten money, but quotes and case studies were tailored to individual media outlets to ensure a good fit. The amount of money at stake – £20bn – had immediate appeal to most news outlets.

Founders of the company were available for interview, and broadcast media were encouraged to hold debates on the subject, in which FundsReunited could participate.

The challenge was to achieve this without alienating the financial institutions holding the funds, as FundsReunited wanted to have a strong working relationship with them.

Measurement and Evaluation

The campaign has so far led to at least 66 pieces of coverage, including pieces within BBC Breakfast News, BBC Working Lunch, BBC News 24, Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up to Money, BBC Radio 2, Saga FM, The Sun, The Times, website The Motley Fool, Business Moneyfacts, the Manchester Evening News and The Scotsman. Haygarth estimates that the story reached 13 million people in the first week and up to 16 million by the end of the first two weeks of the campaign.


In the week after the launch, the number of unique visitors to the FundsReunited website rose by slightly more than 700 per cent on average, and there was a rise of more than 3,000 per cent in the number of paying customers. The conversion rate of site visitors to paying customers rose by 400 per cent.

Haygarth is now in the process of launching two search facilities, this time aimed at tracking down the estimated £4bn worth of lost shares and life assurance policies lying unclaimed in UK financial institutions.

Michelle Carter, who covered the launch for the Daily Star, said the story worked because it had broad appeal to the paper’s readers. It ran under the headline ‘Billions sitting in lost funds could be yours’.

‘We all need more money, and we’ve probably all got something that we’ve forgotten about,’ Carter says.

‘Everyone likes to think they could win the lottery even though not everyone will. But they might get something they’d forgotten all about.’

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