SEC Set to Engage Stakeholders on Reduction of Unclaimed Dividends

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is to engage relevant stakeholders as part of efforts to reduce unclaimed dividends in the nation’s capital market.

In a statement by the acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, speaking in Lagos recently, she said the engagements would concern electronic-Dividend (e-dividend) registration and multiple accounts regularisation in a bid to reduce the unclaimed dividends.

According to her, as part of the engagement, brokers and registrars are required to make available to the Committee on Multiple Subscription Account, on a periodic basis, the number of regularised accounts.

Uduk said specific areas of engagement are ensuring that complete investor data are transferred among operators such as brokers, registrars and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), discouraging unclaimed dividends from building up from securities of newly-listed companies.

Similarly, in addition another thing we need to do is developing the modalities for validating register of members, where the registrars are furnished with incomplete information such as missing account numbers. We believe the capital market of our dreams can only be achieved through the collaboration of all stakeholders,” she said.

Following the expiration of free e-dividend mandate registration period offered to investors, the SEC boss also unveiled plans to partner the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that e-dividend charges are included in the guideline for bank charges.

“SEC has been underwriting the e-dividend charges of N1.50 kobo but since we stopped, we have received a lot of complaints from investors due to the e-dividend charges. But after extensive discussions with the capital market committee, the commission intends to partner with the apex bank to issue charges on E-DMMS transactions. The CBN has a published charge for the banks. This means that any transactions carried out by any bank, there is an established charge,” Uduk explains.

She further explained that since the e-dividend registration charge is not part of the charges from the CBN, investors are having issues with banks where they are charged for some transactions that are not listed as bank charges, which they do not know.

Meanwhile, the account regularization is yielding the desired fruits as 3.5 billion shares had so been regularized. The regularisation was extended to December 31, 2019.

“Through this exercise, some Nigerian investors in Diaspora have been able to consolidate their shareholding accounts. Similarly, several local investors with numerous accounts have also been able to consolidate their investments. We therefore enjoin the general public to take advantage of this initiative to regularise their shareholding accounts before the December 31, 2019 deadline,” SEC stated clearly.

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