E-Dividend Achieving objectives- Gwarzo ..As Investors Paid N29billion Unclaimed Dividends

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Yemisi Izuora

The Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, has commended the contributions of the banking sector and the registras for their support in ensuring the success of the e-dividend platform.

Gwarzo’s commendation is coming as registrars of companies in the Nigerian capital market paid over N29 billion to investors that have not been able to claim their dividend.

The DG who spoke on activities of the third and last Capital Market Committee Meeting (CMC) for the year 2016 and the performance of the market in the past three months said that the e- dividend platform has recorded a lot of positive changes as against what it was before now.

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, that was taken to all the nooks and crannies of the country, declaring, “This is the best the industry has done”.

He noted that the e- dividend platform is 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 in embracing the e-dividend scheme will 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 that is above 12 years, Gwarzo noted that a committee has been set up to work out its modalities for the trust fund, adding 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 last year July 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,” it explained, adding that the e-dividend form could be obtained and properly filled at bank branches or in the office of a registrar and stock broking firms.

On demutualization of share certificate, he said they have achieved 98.9 percent success and about less than three percent of the certificates have not been demutualized.

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

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