The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on Thursday in Enugu, urged more Nigerians to take advantage of the on-going electronic dividend (e-Dividend) registration as part of efforts to reduce the unclaimed dividends profile and increase liquidity in the nation’s capital market and the economy.
Addressing participants at an Enlightenment program on e-Dividend and contemporary issues in the Nigerian Capital Market, Acting Director General of the commission, Ms. Mary Uduk, “the e-Dividend Mandate Management System is to eradicate or reduce to the barest minimum the incidence of unclaimed dividend.
She lamented the continued existence of the unclaimed dividend menace, describing it “is an undesirable feature of the Nigerian capital market which denies investors and shareholders the gains of participating in the capital market. It denies the economy access to the huge amount of money which should have accrued to shareholders and would have gone into circulation to oil the wheel of the economy.”
The event with the theme: “Current Initiatives by SEC Nigeria to Enhance Investor Value,” drew participants from various segments of the society.
Represented by the Head, Port Harcourt Zonal office of the SEC, Obi Adindu, Uduk disclosed that the Commission is currently leading the entire capital market industry in an effort to migrate all shareholders to an e-Dividend regime.
The menace, she stressed, “is a consequence of the bottlenecks which are inherent in the erstwhile paper dividend warrant regime such as postal system inefficiency, change in investors’ addresses, poor fidelity and human fallibility in dividend payment processes, amongst others.”
Continuing, she said the e-Dividend regime bypasses these limitations by ensuring that dividends which do not exceed 12 years of issue are credited directly to an investors account after declaration by the paying company and within a stipulated payment period through simple interbank transfer.
In a statement, the commission recalled that the e-Dividend registration exercise started on November 23, 2016, with each successful registration costing N150 and that between that time and March 31, 2018, the Commission underwrote the registration cost for all of the 2.4m investors’ accounts that mandated.
She implored “all to key into the E-Dividend registration exercise by visiting the nearest bank branch or registrar. In addition to migrating to the E–Dividend regime yourselves, kindly tell everybody you know to do same in their best interest.
“I am informed that some registrars are present at this forum. I implore us to visit them and take advantage of the services they are providing to register for your E-Dividend, here and now” she stated.
Uduk also disclosed that the SEC is implementing various initiatives which are aimed at making our market deeper, vibrant and more effective.
According to her “the forbearance window for shareholders with multiple subscriptions has been extended by another year from the December 31, 2018 deadline previously communicated. Consequently, we enjoin those who have not come forward for the regularization of shares purchased with multiple identities, to do so.
“We have also developed a two-pronged approach to addressing the intractable challenges associated with transmission of shares related to the estate of deceased investors. The first step would involve engagement with and enlightenment of the Probate Registry with a view to providing solutions to the cumbersome process of transmitting shares. Secondly, Rules would be developed around the time frame for transmission shares and the fee structure”.