How we are funded

We get our funding from money from dormant bank accounts and investment from four leading high street banks.

Dormant Accounts

The equity investment in BSC by the Big Society Trust will be funded with the English share of dormant accounts released for social spending through the Dormant Accounts Scheme. This will involve a series of capital transfers over time. Capital transfers from dormant accounts could total up to £400m. The exact profile and size of these transfers is uncertain as it will depend on the rate at which people reclaim money from dormant accounts.

The Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 makes it possible for money from dormant accounts to be used in this way.

Following the 2008 Act, banks and building societies can voluntarily transfer account balances that have been dormant for 15 years or more to a reclaim fund. The reclaim fund is then responsible for meeting claims from customers, who always maintain their rights to their accounts. The reclaim fund has to decide how much money to keep back in order to repay customers who can establish a claim on transferred accounts. Any surplus money is transferred from the reclaim fund to the Big Lottery Fund to distribute for social purposes.

The reclaim fund, established by the Cooperative Banking Group and known as Reclaim Fund Ltd was authorised by the Financial Services Authority in March 2011. It has started receiving dormant account balances from banks and building societies. It has an independent board which will decide how much money should be transferred to the Big Lottery Fund and when (subject to FSA scrutiny and approval, given the potential impact on account holders if Reclaim Fund Ltd cannot meet its liabilities).

If you think you have unclaimed monies in a bank or building society account please contact the bank or building society concerned or visit

Once Reclaim Fund Ltd has transferred money to the Big Lottery Fund, it will have no right to claim that money back. The money will be divided between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland according to an agreed formula. The English portion will be released to the Big Society Trust to invest as equity in Big Society Capital.

Shareholder banks

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS have agreed to invest £50m each in Big Society Capital (BSC). They made this commitment in the context of wider discussions (known as the ‘Merlin’ agreement) with the Government on increasing their positive contribution to society and to economic recovery.

The banks are investing permanent equity in BSC. They will own a maximum of 40% of BSC shares (10% each), but will always remain a minority shareholder with their collective voting rights capped at 20%. The banks’ shares also carry a right of preference in the event of BSC winding up.

If BSC makes and decides to distribute a dividend, the banks will have a right to a share proportionate to their equity contribution to BSC. They will also have a right to a seat on the BSC board. They will have a veto over changes to BSC in which they have a material interest, including BSC’s mission and the rights attached to their shares.