Stakeholders seek process automation to check unclaimed dividends
To check the rising cases of unclaimed dividend in capital market currently put at N158.44 billion, experts that gathered at the 10th yearly conference of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR) have underscored the need to adopt a feasible and integrated automation system that would enable all parties in the value chain to play their roles efficiently without going beyond their grip.
Specifically, the Group Managing Director of SystemSpecs, John Obaro said it was time to dismiss some of the earlier approaches, which were semi-manual in nature and come up with a more integrated approach and minimal user involvement.
Speaking on the theme: ‘Solving the Unclaimed Dividend Conundrum: Exploring Digital Innovations’, Obaroe noted that a major initiative that was introduced on the resolution of unclaimed dividend challenge was the establishment of E-Dividend Mandate Management System (EDMMS) where dividend is paid direct to respective accounts of investors after completing the process.
However, he described the system as a semi manual one that can lead to a wide dissatisfaction and apathy and subsequent forfeiture of dividend or reluctance to activate collection.
He insisted that the permanent solution to unclaimed dividend is an automation that would enable stakeholders in the value chain; stockbrokers, regulators, CSCS, registrars would carry out their individual roles efficiently.
According to him, at the center of the new design or automation, a Unique Investor Number (UIN) with KYC and other investors’ comprehensive details would be captured upfront.
The UIN subsequently ties all an investor’s identity details and transactions together which is to be accessed via APIs by registrars, stockbrokers and other stakeholders.
“The strategic focus here is to solve the identity challenge. By identity challenge, it means that we do not have sufficient information such as account number or parametric to easily identify the person on the unclaimed dividend register.
“To resolve this challenge, there are two scenarios to be addressed, in the first scenario, an individual is aware that he has unclaimed dividend, he comes forward and identifies himself as the owner of the unclaimed dividend.
“In the second scenario, we have a difficult situation where either the owner is unaware or unwilling to come forward and we must look for them,” he said.
Obaro pointed out that with the adoption of advanced technical tools such as data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) these investors and their relations could be traced.