Robin Bell, who has recently retired as senior partner of an Edinburgh firm of solicitors, has been appointed to undertake this task as the Scottish charities nominee by the Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth.
Scottish home affairs minister James Douglas-Hamilton said:
'These new powers should bring real benefits to Scottish charities by allowing cash which is lying redundant in bank and building society accounts in the name of or on behalf of Scottish charities to be transferred to and used by active charities.
Mr Bell will assume powers from today under The Charities (Dormant Accounts) (Scotland) Regulations 1995. His task will be to track down dormant bank and building society accounts of Scottish charities, and to allocate any monies found to current charitable purposes. The precise extent of the monies involved will not be known until his review is well under way.
To enable Mr Bell to carry out his work financial institutions will be permitted to provide to him relevant information about dormant accounts which appear to be in the names of recognised bodies ('Scottish Charities') and which have not been used for 10 years.
An account is dormant if it has not been used for 10 years and the institution has no knowledge of the identity of any person concerned in the management or control of the charity in whose name or on whose behalf the account is held.
The nominee has a duty to advertise in the press details of those dormant accounts which he finds and his plans to transfer monies to active charities. This will enable interested parties to comment on the nominee's proposed action. In addition, the nominee must provide an annual report to the secretary of state who is required to present the report to parliament.