Unclaimed Dividend Debacle: SEC e-Platforms Comes Alive Nov. 30

After several years of policy sumersalts by various administrations, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), on Monday in Lagos said it is creating a new electronic-dividend portal, expected to become operational on November 30, 2023
The initiative, which is a collaborative effort by the regulators and operators, Mallam Isa Yuguda, Director General of the SEC believes, will help solve the perennial problem of unclaimed dividends in the Capital Market Committee.
Speaking at a two-day training for capital market correspondents in Lagos, Mallam Isa Yuguda, Director-General of the SEC noted that “once operational, this portal will simplify the process of mandating accounts for e-dividend. This will improve efficiency and ultimately leading to a significant fall in unclaimed dividends.”
Speaking on other initiatives in the market, Yuguda said in a bid to ensure better risk management in the market and entrench trust, the Commission mandated that all CIS (in collective investment schemes(CIS) funds be held in custody.
This, he continued, “has helped the growth of these funds from about N1.1 trillion at the beginning of 2020 to about N2.1 trillion at the end of October 2023.”
The SEC, he continued, encourages “investors, especially those on the retail end, to approach the market through these CIS funds, as they provide investors with the opportunity to have their investments managed by knowledgeable investment professionals.
Yuguda, who was represented by Dayo Obisan, Executive Commissioner Operations at the commission, also noted that as part of efforts to solve the unclaimed dividend debacle from its root, “the Commission is presently supporting work on an identity management system that would ensure that investors and market participants are properly identified so as to forestall the problems that led to accumulation of unclaimed dividends.”
In line with the Commission’s developmental role, he told the gathering, that the SEC’s zonal offices have continued to conduct investor clinics aimed at providing “solutions to investors dealing with issues relating to their investments in the capital market.
“They also serve as good platforms for investor education and awareness. The clinics also support the financial inclusion efforts of the Commission,” he stressed.
“The Commission has worked hard to expand and deepen the market through the creation of new products and the expansion of existing ones. Two central counterparties (CCPs) were registered and over 30 derivatives contracts approved to kick-start derivatives trading in Nigeria. Over the period, the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) market has grown from nothing to about from about N18bn today.
“The non-interest capital markets segment is growing, and we continue to witness successful sukuk issuances. The green and blue bond markets are also beginning to see some activity,” hr further noted, just as he expressed joy over the attainment of a new all-time high of over 70,000 basis points market on November 1, 2023 by NGX All-share Index.
This, he noted, represents a more than 30% increase year-to-date, in what he said “is testament to the hard work put in by the entire market, led by the Commission.”
Over the past four years, he recalled that the market has recorded a total of 19 new equities and bonds issuances valued at ₦338.39bn, while also reviewing and approving 11 mergers and acquisitions this year alone.
On its investor protection mandate, Yuguda said the Commission also continued its efforts to educate shareholders and the public about capital market operations through media channels.