The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revealed that its unclaimed dividends portal was generating huge success as N29.3 billion of the funds has been paid out in the past one year from November 20th 2015 to November 20th 2016.
Director General SEC, Mallam Mounir Gwarzo said that Registrars of companies in the Nigerian capital market effected the N29.3 billion payment to investors who hitherto were not able to claim their dividends.
Though the SEC could not reveal the total outstanding unclaimed dividend or data on the payment of the N29.3 billion, he assured that data of such payment could be obtained from deductions from the current list of companies’ unclaimed dividend from the previous ones.
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.
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 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 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 Securities and Exchange Commission also disclosed that irrespective of lack of subvention from the federal government, the commission’s income from the market was meager and 70 -80 percent of it was spent internally, just like other government organisations.
Revealing this at the weekend during a post third quarter Capital market Committee Meeting (CMC), press briefing in Logos, the commission said that though it has not been able to remit funds into the FG coffers in the past two years, it has made substantial payments in the recent past and due to the down turn in the economy, earnings dropped significantly.