Research-led fundraising consultancy Giving Insight reports that £43 billion of the UK public's personal wealth is invested in Premium Bonds. As such it is not always taken into account by fundraising prospect researchers.
The information is contained in the first of a series of reports it is producing looking at hidden wealth in the UK.
Using data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the report features "never before seen data on holdings across the whole of the UK."
Giving Insight's Matt Ide hopes that the data will show that "there's more to wealth estimation than salaries, property and shares". Given that 23 million people in the UK own Premium Bonds, this could be a big gap.
For example, the report shows the wealth invested in Premium Bonds in Essex: the total Premium Bonds held amount to around £1.7 billion. In addition, nearly 21,000 people in the county hold the £30,000 maximum permitted investment.
In the report, Ide explains why outdated restrictions are preventing charities from accessing this wealth directly.
Top five areas of maximum Premium Bond holdings
According to the report, the five areas with the largest number of inhabitants holding the maximum £30,000 in Premium Bonds are:
• Outer London (46,808)
• Essex (20,967)
• Hampshire (21,160)
• Surrey (20,282)
• Kent (19,181)
Areas by average holding per account
When the average holding per account is examined though the top areas are quite different, apart from Outer London:
• Surrey (£2,891)
• West Sussex (£2,772)
• Dorset (£2,736)
• Buckinghamshire (£2,570)
• East Sussex (£2,544)
Premium Bonds and fundraising
Ide notes that Premium Bonds don't feature in charity fundraising appeals. This is probably because they are not transferable, and charities are not allowed to buy or hold Premium Bonds. But he encourages fundraisers to remember that there are other sources of wealth, not just those seen in published rich lists.
He also suggests that the charity sector might like to investigate whether Premium Bonds might be made easier to donate to charity.