…Extends free registration period
By Chinenye Anuforo
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that over N30 billion has so far been paid to investors in the Nigerian capital market from the backlog of unclaimed dividends.
As a means to further reduce the unclaimed dividends profile and curb its growth in the country, the Commission notified the investing public that it will continue to underwrite the cost of e-dividend enrolment till June 30, 2017.
A statement by SEC said, “with a view to ensuring all investors benefit from the e-dividend programme free of charge, the SEC had committed to pay the cost of enrolment throughout 2016, resulting in about 48 per cent of investors being enrolled for the e-dividend payments. Arising from this exercise, over N30 billion, which was hitherto unclaimed has so far been credited to respective bank accounts of investors.
Therefore, the advantage of the e-dividend is not only to enable investors collect subsequent dividends electronically but it allows all accrued dividends be credited to investors’ bank accounts. “The commission has, however, observed with concern the challenges being experienced by investors in the course of the e-dividend registration and therefore commits to further defray the cost of registration till June 30, 2017 to enable investors continue to enjoy the free registration,” SEC stated.
The SEC also reminded the investing public that at the expiration of the free registration period, dividend warrants will no longer be issued as it would be replaced with electronic dividend payments.
This decision underscores the Commission’s strong focus on market development and enhancement of investor confidence. All investors in the Nigerian capital market are therefore advised to take advantage of this extended grace period by approaching their bankers or registrars for enrolment before the deadline.
E-dividend payment platform was introduced to address the rising incidence of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market.
It is also expected to address the lingering problem of unclaimed dividends, which the market had sought solution for the past 20 years.
SEC DG, Mounir Gwarzo, had recently said that efforts made by the commission to ensure that the era of stale dividends and huge unclaimed dividends in the market become a thing of the past was already achieving result with the e-dividend registration system.