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Investors pay N29.3bn of unclaimed dividends,achieves 98.9% dematerialization success – Gwarzo

Registrars of companies in the nation’s capital market have paid over N29.3 billion to investors that have not been able to claim their dividend.

The Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo who disclosed this during an interactive session with capital market journalists to brief them on 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 N29.3 billion 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.

According to him, “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 is for the good of retail investors and the industry operators in general, assuring that the commission is poised to end the story of unclaimed 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 committees 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 Banks 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 stockbroking firms.

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

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

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