SEC seeks more adoption of e- Dividend registration mandate
Retains June deadline for issuance of dividend warrant
For the umpteen time the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has urged the investing public to register for the payment of their dividends electronically (e-Dividend), to curb the growth of unclaimed dividend in the Nigerian capital market.
Besides, the Commission also reminded the investing public on the June 30th deadline for the issuance of physical dividend warrant, adding that the aim is to mitigate the risks associated with physical dividend warrants and enhance investors’ experience.
E-dividend is an electronic dividend payment, which will enable an investor’s account to be credited after 24 hours that dividend is paid. The Director-General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, in a press briefing held in Lagos recently, described the e-Dividend platform as a game changer in the market that will ensure that infractions are reduced to the barest minimum.
To facilitate the e-Dividend registration exercise, SEC further explained that the Commission has provided a platform where all investors that are yet to register can search for their names, even as the already registered ones could also ascertain their registration status on the same portal.
According to SEC, “All investors, whose names appear, are advised to urgently contact the nearest branch of their bank or registrar to register for the collection of their unclaimed dividends and subsequent dividends electronically, as well as for the Direct Cash Settlement of proceeds from secondary market transactions, to be credited to their preferred Bank Account.
The apex regulator maintained that the deadline would compel retail investors to embrace the exercise and stem the rising unclaimed dividend in the capital market, currently put at N117 billion.
SEC added that the deadline would see the end of free registration of e-dividend embarked upon by the Commission since the inception of the exercise in November 2015, to encourage more patronage of the exercise.
“The Commission also wishes to remind the investing public on the deadline of June 30th, which will mark the end of issuance of physical dividend warrant, with a view to mitigating the risks associated with physical dividend warrants and improving investors’ experience.
“Furthermore, the 30th June 2017 dateline will see the end of free registration of e-dividend, being bank-rolled by the Commission since the inception of the exercise in November 2015. Hence, members of the investing public are encouraged to urgently key into the on-going free registration period.
“All investors in the Nigerian capital market are pleased advised to take advantage of the on-going free registration period and register by approaching the nearest branch of their Bankers or Registrars for enrolment before the deadline,” SEC added.
Gwarzo, while addressing journalists during the post Capital Market Committee (CMC) briefing, bemoaned the low level of patronage for e-dividend registration in the market, noting that only 6,000 investors have accessed the platform.
To encourage more participation in the exercise, the SEC boss explained that the CMC has agreed that all banks should appoint an e-dividend champion that would interface with retail investors to ensure a seamless registration.
According to him, the e-dividend champions would forward all issues associated with the registration to Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), to give clarifications on the issues within three days.