The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stated that it is working to ensure it reduces the level of unclaimed dividends to zero per cent in the financial market even despite the country’s unclaimed dividend currently standing at N177 billion.
This was even as the Commission reiterated that it will sanction
Capital Market Operators (CMOs) that are frustrating the electronic dividend mandate process while pleading with investors to try and mandate their accounts.
It’s Director General, Lamido Yuguda, stated this while responding to questions fielded by newsmen on the outcome of the second capital market committee (CMC) meeting via Zoom on Friday.
Yuguda said that as of December 31, 2020, unclaimed dividends stood at N168 billion and added that at the end of 2021, the figure rose to N177 billion.
“The SEC has done a lot in terms of working with registrars to ensure dividends are distributed electronically via bank accounts. The problem is that some investors are yet to mandate their accounts. Right now, we are working on trying to get to a one stop point and not different registrars so that the level of unclaimed dividends gets to zero per cent.
Also, companies have changed their names and this is making it difficult for
a large number of investors unaware of this and this has made them not to have their accounts mandated. The commission will however continue to create awareness in this regard. Capital market operators must also do more to demonstrate, through their activities, an efficient capital market that prioritizes the interests of investors”, he said.
He reiterated that stiff penalties will be meted out to any stakeholder whose action appears to frustrate the efforts of the Commission on this objective.
On the back of the commencement of tax on corporate bonds by the Federal Government, Yuguda urged the government to reconsider and give investors tax exemption period for corporate bonds and short-term government securities.
“We believe that these tax exemption should return to the capital market. Stakeholders also agree with this. Therefore, the commission continues its engagement with the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the request for tax exemption for corporate bonds”, he said.
The SEC DG further revealed that amid the backdrop of the global macroeconomic instability and the proliferation of illicit activities in the market, the Nigerian Capital market successfully pulled through, with the stock market being ranked among the best performing in H1 2022.
According to him, the SEC has obtained donor funding towards acquiring and deploying a securities market surveillance system.
“The deployment of the surveillance solution will improve the Commission’s regulatory and supervisory capabilities over securities trading activities and help modernize the local capital markets, ensure market integrity and transparency across all trading platforms, and boost investor confidence”, Yuguda said.