Investors Cash N30b Unclaimed Dividend, As SEC To End ‘Warrants’ June

*Achieves 48% Enrollment For e-Dividend

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on Monday said its bid to drastically reduce, if not total eliminate the menace of unclaimed dividend from the Nigerian capital market is yielding juicy fruits, with the payment of over N30 billion to investors from the backlog.
This means that a further N700 million was recovered in November and December 2016, given that the commission had reported last year year that N29.3 billion of about N90 billion outstanding was paid to investors in the 11 months between November 2015 and October 2016.
Encouraged by the success so far and poised to further reduce the unclaimed dividends profile, while curbing its growth, the Commission has offered to continue underwriting the cost of electronic-Dividend enrolment till June 30, 2017.
Monday’s statement by the SEC noted that “with a view to ensuring all investors benefit from the e-Dividend programme free of charge, the SEC had committed to pay the cost of enrolment throughout the year 2016, and had resulted in getting about 48% of investors to enroll for the e-dividend payments. Arising from this exercise, over N30 billion which was hitherto unclaimed have so far been credited to respective Bank Accounts of Investors.”
According to the statement, the e-dividend registration does not only enable investors collect subsequent dividends electronically, but allows all accrued dividends to be credited to their bank accounts.
“The Commission has however observed with concern the challenges being experienced by investors in the course of the e-Dividend registration and therefore commits to further defray the cost of registration till June 30th, 2017 to enable investors continue to enjoy the free registration” the SEC stated.
The SEC also reminded the investing public that at the expiration of the free registration period, Dividend warrants will no longer be issued as it would be replaced with electronic dividend payments.​
This decision, the commission added, underscores its strong focus on market development and enhancement of investor confidence. All investors in the Nigerian Capital Market are therefore advised to take advantage of this extended grace period by approaching their Bankers or Registrars for enrolment before the deadline.
E-dividend payment platform was introduced to address the rising incidence of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market.
It is also expected to address the lingering problem of unclaimed dividends, which the market had sought solution for the past 20 years, the statement added.
SEC Director-General, Mounir Gwarzo had recently said that efforts made by the commission to ensure that the era of stale dividends and huge unclaimed dividends in the market becomes a thing of the past was already achieving result with the e-dividend registration system.
“When we started the e dividend, the major challenge was for people to key into the e dividend mandate. There are unclaimed dividends that have not been claimed, the registrars have been compelled to pay all the arrears of unclaimed dividends.
“In this country, we have never had this kind of initiative that has reduced unclaimed dividends like we had today. Apart from the investor getting his dividends where ever he is, that investor will be able to get dividends that in the last five years he has not been able to get. The e-dividend is for the interest of retail investors” he added.

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