Over N100b Belonging to Investors Still Uncollected—SEC

January 25, 2019
Unclaimed Dividends

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday described as worrisome the growing amount of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market.

Head of Lagos Zonal office of SEC, Mr Stephen Falomo, while speaking in Akure, Ondo State yesterday, said as at January 2018, the total amount was confirmed to be over N100 billion.

According to him, this figure will continue to swell as more companies declare dividends, which will still remain uncollected by investors.

“Companies would continue to declare dividends and this figure is expected to further grow. The huge figure and continuous growth of unclaimed dividends clearly suggest an urgent need to stem trend,” he said at an e-dividend enlightenment campaign yesterday.

Mr Falomo said the way out is for Nigerian investors to enrol for the e-dividend regime by completing an e-Dividend ‘Mandate Form’ and submitting same at the nearest branch of his/her bank or registrar’s office, for identity validation leveraging the BVN platform of the NIBSS.

Head of Zonal Offices Coordinating Department at SEC, Mr Edward Okolo, who represent the acting Director General of the agency, Ms Mary Uduk, also urged investors to take advantage of the on-going  e-dividend registration as well as the regularisation of multiple subscription accounts  in a bid to reduce the unclaimed dividends profile and increase liquidity in the capital market and the economy.

She disclosed that the forbearance window for shareholders with multiple subscriptions has been extended by another year from the December 31, 2018 deadline previously communicated and consequently, enjoined those who have not come forward for the regularization of shares purchased with multiple identities, to do so.

According to her, “The essence of the E-Dividend Mandate Management System is to eradicate or reduce to the barest minimum the incidence of unclaimed dividend.”

She described, “Unclaimed dividend as an undesirable feature of the Nigerian capital market which denies investors/shareholders the gains of participating in the capital market. It denies the economy access to the huge amount of money which should have accrued to shareholders and would have gone into circulation to oil the wheel of the economy.

“It is a consequence of the bottlenecks which are inherent in the erstwhile paper dividend warrant regime such as postal system inefficiency, change in investors’ addresses, poor fidelity and human fallibility in dividend payment processes, amongst others.”

She stated that the E–Dividend regime bypasses these limitations by ensuring that dividends which do not exceed 12 years of issue are credited directly to an investors account after declaration by the paying company and within a stipulated payment period through simple interbank transfer.

At the gathering, Ms Uduk also urged state governments to take advantage of the enormous opportunities available in the capital market to revitalise moribund companies in their state in a bid to create wealth for the citizens.

She said some of the companies still have potentials adding that the capital has instruments to revamp such companies through private equity funding and partnerships.

Also speaking at the event, Secretary to the Ondo State Government, Mr Ifedayo Abegunde, commended the SEC on its efforts at sensitising investors and assured that the state government will assist in any way possible to ensure that its citizens derive the benefits of their investments.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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