SEC Sets Up Complaint Mgt Framework To Resolve Nigeria’s Unclaimed Dividend Menace

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), at the weekend said it will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to sensitise investors on the need to regularise their multiple accounts as well as claim their dividends.
Speaking at an interview session in Abuja on Friday, Ms. Mary Uduk, acting Director-General of the commission, lamented that despite previous efforts, the volume of unclaimed dividend remains huge.
She however assured but the commission is doing a lot to bring it down, one of which is a complaint management framework already put in place. The framework is expected to ensure that investors get attended to promptly while seeking to reclaim their outstanding dividends.
According to her, “once you approach your registrars for your dividends to be paid and there is the reason for complaints, you can always contact the commission for the issue to be resolved.”
This, she continued, is among various steps taken to ensure that shareholders benefit from their investments in the Capital Market.
According to her, “Only recently, in our determination to reduce the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian Capital Market and encourage beneficiaries of deceased investors to step up efforts to claim such dividends, the Commission exposed an amendment to our Rules which reduced the time, processes and costs of the transmission of shares from a deceased to the beneficiary.
“The timeline for the transmission of the deceased’s shares has been reduced from three weeks to one week. Going by that, registrars shall ensure that shares of a deceased are transmitted within a week of receiving the request from the administrators or executors. This effort will ensure seamless transmission and claim of a deceased’s shares by heirs and administrators.
Uduk said it is also the quest for investors to get the benefit of their investments that prompted the Commission to release a circular to shareholders of defunct Skye bank to claim all outstanding dividends.
She said sensitisation efforts are going on with other stakeholders to enlighten members of the public on the need to go and claim their shares through regularization of multiple accounts.
“If you cannot claim your shares, there is no way you will be talking about claiming your dividends.
One of the things the Commission has done is to encourage these people to come and regularize their accounts. As I speak about 2.6 million account holders have registered for e-dividend and many can testify that they are getting their dividends promptly” she said.
She also said the SEC has informed shareholders of the defunct Skye Bank that unclaimed dividends declared by the bank are being held in trust on their behalf and urged them to claim their dividends.
This she stated, will further help reduce the volume of unclaimed dividends in the market and boost investor confidence.
Uduk said the Commission has also directed Cardinalstone Registrars and STL Trustees to ensure that all genuine claims of beneficiary shareholders are addressed forthwith.
The Acting DG said since the company is no longer in operation, these unclaimed dividends have to be made available to the rightful owners that are the shareholders, as that will go a long way in boosting investor confidence in the market.
“They invested in a company and since the company has gone under, there is no reason why they should not have access to their unclaimed dividends. That is why we are calling on them to take advantage of this opportunity and claim their dividends” Uduk stated.