The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it has phased out unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market, stating that henceforth, there would be no future unclaimed dividends on those currently being declared by companies. Oil prices fall as U.S. crude stocks jump.
Acting Director General of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, in a statement at the weekend stated that the commission had gone very far in addressing the unclaimed dividends problem, stating that the decision to eliminate it completely, going forward, was a major milestone.
Uduk who was represented in a television interview by the Head, Office of the Chief Economist of SEC, Mr Okey Umeano, said the Commission had engaged Nigeria Interbank Settlement System to make use of the Bank Verification Number, and had gotten the Central Securitas Clearing System, CSCS, and the registrars working towards ensuring a significant reduction.
She said, “More importantly, we know that there would be no future unclaimed dividends, there would be no addition to the unclaimed dividends profile and we count that as a success.
“We believe that once we solve the identity issues that we have presently, the problem of unclaimed dividends will be a thing of the past. Also, we have continued with our education of the market, we are making more efforts towards awareness on what stakeholders need to know to make the market more attractive, make it better and protect the investors more.”
Uduk stated that the Commission is continuing the implementation of the 10-year capital market master plan to make the market more attractive to investors.
She said “This year, one of the things we decided to resolve was resolving the unclaimed dividend problems as well as regularisation of multiple accounts. On all counts, we have made a lot of strides. Next year we are picking a few other things like derivatives trading, commodities trading ecosystem and strengthening the CIS segment of the market.
The Acting SEC boss stated that the issues around multiple subscriptions were still on, and urged affected investors to regularise their accounts so that their shares can become active and the investors can also get the benefits of investing in the market.
“We have given some time for those affected to regularise their accounts. The stockbrokers and registrars are working on that and we believe that in no time we will identify the owners of those accounts and put them together so that those shares will become tradable again,” she explained.
Uduk stated that the elimination of dividend warrants in the market has been a major game changer and therefore urged investors to register for e-dividend to access the benefits.