Nigerian capital market pays N29bn in unclaimed dividends

Terver Dominic, Lagos

SEC boss, Mounir Gwarzo

Registrars of companies in the Nigerian capital market have paid over N29 billion to investors that have not been able to claim their dividends.

The Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Mounir Gwarzo stated this to capital market journalists while briefing them on the performance of the market in the last three months.

He said that the E- dividend platform has recorded a lot of positive changes.

Gwarzo explained that the total payment of N29.274,739.64 was made between November last year till date, pointing out that the commission was able to achieve this milestone through the advocacy work of all the stakeholders in the market.

He said: “This is the best the industry has done”, and commended the contributions of the banking sector and the registrars for their support in ensuring the success of the platform.

He noted that the e- dividend platform was for the good of retail investors and the industry operators in general, assuring that the commission is poised to end the story of uncliamed dividend in the capital market.

The DG added that incentives and time extension that was put in place to encourage investors to embrace the e-dividend scheme would continue until the market achieved 100 percent e-dividend transition.

He emphasized that by end of June 30, 2017, registrars of companies will stop issuing physical dividend warrants to shareholders.

However, on the circular concerning the establishment of Nigerian Capital Market Development Fund (NCMDF) which will take care of all unclaimed dividends above 12 years, Gwarzo noted that a committee had been set up to work out its modalities for the trust fund.

He added that without pre-empting the committee, which are reviewing the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) and the Companies and Allied Matters Acts (CAMA), they will decide if it’s appropriate to allow investors to forfeit their dividend once its above 12 years or leave it to perpetuity.

The apex regulator in the capital market in July, last year, formally launched the e-Dividend Mandate Management System (e-DMMS) in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and all Deposit Money Bank to address the issue of unclaimed dividend in the capital market.

According to Samuel Oluyemi ,Head, Vertical Markets Group from the Nigerian Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), the e-DMMS portal utilizes NIBSS’s robust document management system to which the e-dividend mandate forms filled by the investor can be uploaded.”

The e-dividend form can be obtained and filled at bank branches or in the office of a registrar and stock broking firms.

On the demutualization of share certificates, he said they had achived 98.9 percent success.

The SEC DG however said he was optimistic that in the next three months,  they would be looking at 100 percent success of demutualization of share certificates in the country.