How to track down a Child Trust Fund

There are 1m lost or dormant Child Trust Funds worth £2.2bn: Here’s how to track it down whether you are a parent (or teenager)

  • Around 525k CTFs thought to have matured in the nine months to 31 May 2021
  • Estimated there could be 1m lost or dormant child trust funds valued at £2.2bn 
  • Since 2002 around 6.3m Child Trust Fund accounts have been set up 

Almost one in four Britons believe the Child Trust Fund set-up on behalf of their children or grandchildren is now lost or dormant.  

More than 6million CTFs were set up for children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011, with the first wave maturing last September.

Parents and guardians could be issued a voucher to then place in a CTF provider, but even a failure to do this would have seen HMRC automatically put the money in one of the providers on the child’s behalf. 

They were given two £250 vouchers — or £500 apiece for families with low incomes. 

Over 700,000 Child Trust Fund accounts will mature each year according to Government figures.

Of those who set it up on behalf of a child, 23 per cent of say they have lost track of the CTF, according to research by Gretel – a free online service which helps track down lost bank accounts, CTFs and pensions. 

This means there may be many children who don’t know there are accounts in their name, so are unaware that there is money waiting for them.

About 525,000 accounts are thought to have matured between 1 September 2020 and 31 May 2021 according to The Investing and Saving Alliance, with nearly three in five of these still unclaimed.

CTFs were intended as a long-term tax-free savings account for children that was introduced by the Labour government in 2002 before being scrapped in early 2011. 

The idea was to help parents and guardians get into the savings habit for their children to set them up for adulthood. 

Although the scheme ended, CTFs can be moved into Junior Isas and those that already have one, can continue to add up to £9,000 a year to the account.

The money belongs to the child, but they can only withdraw the money at 18.   

Estimated lost/dormant accounts
Financial ProductTotal lost/dormant Number of people effected Average value
Shares £2.5bn2m£1,250 
Bank & Building Society Accounts £4.5bn10m £450 
Wealth & Investments £2.8bn 1m£2,800 
Life Insurance £2.0bn 2.5m£800 
Child Trust Funds £2.2bn 1m£2,200 
NS&I £60m1.5m£40 

There are estimated to be as many as one million lost or dormant child trust funds valued at approximately £2.2billion, according to Gretel.

The average value for each lost or dormant account is thought to be in the region of £2,200. 

Duncan Stevens, chief executive of Gretel said: ‘Industry figures show that over 50 per cent of all CTFs maturing in the last nine months have been unclaimed, suggesting that dormancy and loss is a real issue in this market, at a time when many young people could no doubt benefit from accessing cash that is rightfully theirs.’

‘Our belief is that consumers are entitled to receive all the money due to them and should not have to pay to get their own money back, nor face numerous complex barriers to access it.’

Of the one million lost accounts, a third are owned by families in receipt of Child Tax Credit, according to research by The Share Foundation and the Tax-Incentivised Saving Association.

The organisations calculate that nearly 400,000 lost accounts belong to these children, with a combined value of around £600million.  

How can you find a lost account?

You do necessarily need to know your provider to trace where a Child Trust Fund is held. 

You will need to fill in an online form to ask HMRC where the account was originally opened – although you’ll need  to create Government Gateway User ID and password if you don’t already have one for your tax return already.

Any parent looking for a CTF they set up will need the child’s Unique Reference Number which can be found on the annual CTF statement or your child’s national insurance number.

If you’re looking for your own trust fund, you’ll need your National Insurance number to hand. 

An easier way for those aged 16 to 18 is through charity the Share Foundation.  

Applying by post to find a lost Child Trust Fund

If you’re a parent looking for your child’s trust fund, you’ll need to include your full name and address, your child’s full name and address, date of birth, their National Insurance number or Unique Reference Number if known.

If you’re looking for your own trust fund, you’ll need to include your full name and address, your date of birth and your National Insurance number or Unique Reference Number if known. 

Send to:

Charities, Savings and International 1, HMRC, BX9 1AU