As part of its determination to drastically reduce and eventually eradicate unclaimed dividend in Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on Monday appealed to shareholders of the defunct Afribank Plc to claim their funds.
The appeal is coming several years after the bank had its operating licence withdrawn by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), following which it was bridged and taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). The name was changed to Mainstreet Bank, before its eventual sale to the then Skye Bank Plc (which was also recently bridged and the name changed to Polaris Bank Limited.
A statement by the commission said the call is part of its investor protection programme and as part of ensuring that shareholders get the benefits of investing in the capital market.
The statement quoted Acting Director-General of the commission, Ms Mary Uduk, as saying the Commission is gradually making concrete efforts to ensure that investors get their dividends, a situation she expects, would reduce the high profile of unclaimed dividends in the market.
According to her, “we have informed shareholders of the defunct Afribank Plc that unclaimed dividends declared by the bank are being held in trust on their behalf. This will further help reduce the volume of unclaimed dividends in the market and boost investor confidence.
“Investors that have unclaimed dividends are therefore advised to contact Carnation Registrars to process their dividend payments,” she said.
Uduk said the commission has also directed Carnation Registrars and Meristem Trustees to ensure that all genuine claims of beneficiary shareholders be addressed forthwith.
“Since the company is no longer in operation, these unclaimed dividends have to be made available to the rightful owners that are the shareholders. That will go a long way in boosting investor confidence in the market. That is why we are calling on them to take advantage of this opportunity and claim their dividends,” uduk said.
Recall that the SEC recently directed investors of the defunct Skye Bank Plc to claim all outstanding dividends declared by the bank which were being held in trust on their behalf.
The SEC also at the time, went further to direct Cardinalstone Registrars and STL Trustees to ensure that all genuine claims of beneficiary shareholders of Skye Bank were addressed forthwith.
This, the SEC said, was part of its investors’ protection programme to ensure that shareholders got the benefits of investing in the capital market.