In a bid to further educate investors on the recently launched e-Dividend platform, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has embarked on a four-day robust enlightenment programme.
The programme commenced Monday with a Road Show, and through Wednesday January 13 and climax with a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday January 14, 2015.
Speaking during the Road Show, Head, Market Development Department, Henry Rowlands, said Investors in the nation’s Capital Market are entitled to their investments when they invest money hence the need for the e-dividend portal and the enlightenment campaign.
According to him, “We discovered that when dividends are declared by the companies where they invest, they are sent by post which takes time and sometimes they do not even come at all. Because investors change addresses, some of the dividend warrants do not even get to them. Having looked at it as at September 30th, 2015, the Commission realized that unclaimed dividends amounted to about N90billion. SEC determined we will address it once and for all and that is why the Commission launched the electronic dividend portal.
“Electronic dividend simply refers to an online system of paying dividends to inventors whereby when companies declare dividends which are the profits meant for investors, rather than send it by post, they will just wire it to the investor’s bank account and that is what informed this exercise. The Commission desires that the money of investors hanging as unclaimed dividends get paid to them with ease” he added.
Head, Corporate Communication SEC, Naif Abdussalam, said the SEC, has “directed all registrars of public companies to return all unclaimed dividends, which have been in their custody for 15 months and above, to the paying companies.”
SEC also notified the public that enrolment for e-Dividend payments could now be efficiently conducted at bank and registrar branches nationwide through the online platform launched on July 29, last year.
“We want to make sure that we take the message down to the grassroots; we want every Nigerian investor within this period of 90 days which is free to get registered because immediately after the 90 days, a fee of N100 will be charged. All you need to do is walk into a bank or Registrar’s office and you will be registered. Once you are registered, you will start getting alert for your dividends” he said.
SEC had recently advised all shareholders and investors in the capital market to approach their banks or registrars to complete the e-Dividend Mandate form for immediate processing and upload to the e-Dividend Mandate Management System (e-DMMS).
To eradicate the difficulty encountered by retail investors in claiming their dividends through their savings account, SEC, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) in July, last year launched the e payment platform.
The e-Dividend scheme, Abdussalam said, “has been a priority initiative for the entire capital market in a bid to curb the growth of unclaimed dividends and improve the overall efficiency of Nigeria’s equities markets.”
He re-emphasised the determination of the commission to implement the capital market master plan, which he said would transform the market for the benefits of all stakeholders.