SEC settles N29.2b out of N80b unclaimed dividends

By Ikenga Chronicles November 28, 2016

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reportedly settled N29.2 billion from its N80 billion outstanding dividends after embracing the e-dividend system it introduced.

In addition, about 1.4 million investors have keyed into the system between November 2015 and October 2016, according to SEC.

E-dividend payment platform was introduced to address the rising incidence of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market, which as at August 2016, was put at N80 billion.

The platform is expected to address the lingering problem of unclaimed dividends, which stakeholders had sought for its solution in the past 20 years.

The Director-General, SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, disclosed this while addressing journalists during the post-fourth Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting, in Lagos at the weekend.

Gwarzo said that efforts made by the commission to ensure that the era of stale and huge unclaimed dividends in the market become a thing of the past is now being achieved gradually with the e- dividend registration system.

According to him, from November 2015 to October this year, over N29.2 billion unclaimed dividend has been paid out to investors.

“When we started the e-dividend, the major challenge was for people to key into the mandate. There are unclaimed dividend that has not been claimed and the registrars were compelled to pay all the arrears of unclaimed dividend.”

“In this country, we have never had this kind of initiative that has reduced unclaimed dividend like we had today.”

“Apart from the investor getting his dividend wherever he is, that investor will be able to get dividend that in the last five years he has not been able to get.”

“The e-dividend is for the interest of retail investors and since we started implementing the master plan, our focus has been to ensure they come back to the market and address the complaints.” he said.

Aside, tackling the issue of unclaimed dividend to woo retail investors back to the market, Gwarzo explained that the Commission has concluded plans to make the Direct Cash Settlement become operational by the first quarter of 2017.

“The direct cash settlement where we mandated the broker who has the mandate of a client should credit the client’s account when shares of the client are sold.”

” This is against the initial idea that shares are sold and credited into the broker’s account.”

The SEC boss explained that the commission plans to stratify licenses for various exchanges.

 

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