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Capital market’s unclaimed dividends hit N177bn – SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission, on Friday, announced that the unclaimed dividends at Nigeria’s capital market so far computed increased from N168bn in 2020 to N177bn in 2021.

Director-General, SEC, Lamido Yuguda, disclosed this in Abuja while speaking on some of the outcomes of the second Capital Market Committee meeting held recently in Abuja.

Responding to a question on the amount of unclaimed dividends at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Yuguda said, “The unclaimed dividends that we have as at the end of last year was about N177bn.

“And, unfortunately, this was an increase over the number at the end of 2020, which was N168bn.”

On what the commission was doing about the increasing unclaimed dividends, Yuguda replied, “The commission has done a lot about this in terms of working with the registrars to ensure that dividends are now distributed electronically.

“This is done through the banking accounts of investors rather than through dividend warrants that used to be the case. However, the problem is that people need to mandate their accounts.

“This means that you need to provide your account details to the registrars so that it can be credited directly with the dividends. We have observed that there are issues with that process, because right now you will still need to go to each and every registrar that you deal with to give the same information.”

He added, “But what we are trying to do right now is to get a one point of supplying that information, so that when you give it to one registrar, you don’t need to repeat the information across all the other registrars because they will automatically get your details.”

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The SEC boss noted that the second thing being done by the commission was to enlighten people about the many changes that had taken place in the capital market.

He further noted that in spite of SEC’s efforts in the implementation of the electronic Dividend Mandate Management System, investors had continued to lament the delayed payments of e-dividend and the cumbersome manual process, among other shortcomings.

“A large number of investors are also still unaware of the eDMMS and have not mandated their accounts. The commission will, however, continue to create awareness in this regard,” Yuguda stated.

He added, “Capital market operators must also do more to demonstrate, through their activities, an efficient capital market that prioritises the interests of investors.”

Yuguda also stated that SEC had obtained donor funding towards acquiring and deploying a securities market surveillance system.

He said the deployment of the surveillance solution would improve the commission’s regulatory and supervisory capabilities over securities trading activities and help modernise the local capital markets.

“It will also ensure market integrity and transparency across all trading platforms, and boost investor confidence,” he stated.

All of these, according to Yuguda, would bode well for the capital market and support its growth.

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