Members of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSAN) have been urged to remain open to best practices, especially with the focus of finding a lasting solution to administrative issues in Nigeria.
Making the call at the institute’s forum held recently in Lagos, the president of the body, Mr. Samuel Kolawole, said, considering the important roles the members play in the public and private sectors, they must ensure that they are on top of their game at all times.
He said continuous learning by the members constitutes the antidote to stagnation and even retrogression. He stressed that in this modern era of blossoming information and knowledge, where contributions to existing body of knowledge occurs at a dizzying pace, any professional who was not well-entrenched in the culture of continuous learning would soon be left behind.
The president, who was represented by ICSAN’s vice president, Mr. Bode Ayeku, reminded the participants at the event that the institute was the leading, statutorily established professional body dedicated to enhancing the status and practice of corporate governance and public administration.
“ICSAN is a member of the Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA), a Geneva-registered global organisation dedicated to maintaining and improving professional standards, the quality of governance and to improve organisational performance. The association is a global voice of corporate secretaries and governance professionals.
“Over the years, we have consistently promoted the ideals of corporate governance through periodic issuance of policy papers and guidance materials on corporate citizens in Africa. We have also given precise direction on public affairs,” he said.
Kolawole stated that the Company Secretaries and Registrars’ Forum was floated by the institute many years back as an avenue to enable corporate secretaries and registrars and other professionals in similar fields to rub minds and exchange useful ideas on trending issues of professional importance.
He said the theme of the event, “Management of Register of Members and Unclaimed Dividend: Deliverables, Challenges and Way Out” was apt. He warned that failure to keep accurate and reliable members register could not only lead to confusion and members/shareholders disaffection but also punitive payment of fine.
He added that: “Equally as important is the other aspect embedded in this theme, which is the issue of unclaimed dividends. The problem of unclaimed dividends is a perennial one which all stakeholders, including corporations, Nigerian Stock Exchange and Securities and Exchange Commission, have devised numerous means and ways to solve over the years.”
In her welcome address, the acting registrar of the ICSAN, Ms Oladunni Ogunsulire, said the institute would not relent in its continued professional training, guidance and policy advocacy. She said the body was the only professional body authorised in Nigeria to conduct the examinations leading to the qualifications of chartered secretaries and administrators.
She stated that ICSAN was preoccupied with engagement of contemporary issues with a view to providing positive, pragmatic views for national growth and development.
The keynote speaker, managing director and chief executive officer of First Registrars and Investor Service Limited, Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, said the number and amount of unclaimed dividends have reduced to about 5 per cent in recent times against the 25 per cent witnessed some few years ago.
He said some of the factors that lead to unclaimed dividends were change of shareholders’ address without notifying the registrar; shareholders’ use of fictional names and multiple purchases during IPOs and ineffective postal system in the country. According to him, other factors were non-deposit of dividend warrants into bank accounts by small-unit shareholders because of the perceived disproportionate value and cumbersome process in obtaining letter of administrations, which discouraged beneficiaries of the investments from pursuing them.
He recommended that registrars should continue to put more effort to ensure that the registers of members of publicly quoted companies were regularly and appropriately updated time-to-time.
“Registers should ensure payment of all outstanding dividends of shareholders whose accounts are mandated. Companies should continue to publish the amount of unclaimed dividends in annual reports. The unclaimed dividends which were returned to companies should be properly monitored by SEC to avoid diversion,” he said.