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SEC Urges Investors To Update Accounts With Ownership Proofs

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has urged investors in the nation’s capital market to provide proofs of ownership to facilitate the regularization of their accounts and help curb the increasingly worrisome rate of unclaimed dividends in the market.

The Acting Director General of the SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, gave the advice at a One-Day National Seminar on reducing incidence of unclaimed dividends held in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Represented by the Director, Lagos Zonal Office of SEC, Mr Stephen Falomo, at the forum, the SEC’s boss explained that there existed enormous benefits for multiple accounts regularisation and e-dividends registration for investors.

Uduk disclosed that the Capital Market Community had opened a forbearance window to allow investors with multiple subscriptions/applications to public offers to regularize these subscriptions under a single account name.

According to her, “investors who provide sufficient proof of ownership will be permitted to regularize their accounts into one. The forbearance window closes on December 31, 2019.

“The huge amount of unclaimed dividends could discourage foreign investment as well as discourage members of the public from staking their funds in the market.

“Non-receipt of dividends discourages investors in stock market and encourages them to search for alternative investment outlets such as the real sector and money market. Consequently, public companies are denied the opportunity of cheaper source of finance”, Uduk added.

The investment expert pointed out that e-dividend remained a secure on-line means of paying dividends directly to the Shareholder’s account instead of printing and mailing dividend warrants, as was the case before now.

She clarified: “It entails a shareholder who has a bank account (Savings or Current Account) with any bank, to give his/her accurate account details, including Biometric Verification Number (BVN), to the Registrar of the company and his/her dividend would be paid directly into that account.

“Each investor is required to enroll for the e-dividend regime by completing an e-Dividend ‘Mandate Form’ and submitting same at the nearest branch of his/her Bank or Registrar’s office, for identity validation leveraging the BVN platform of the NIBSS. Successfully BVN validated mandates are approved and passed to Registrars for dividend payment”, Uduk stressed.

Earlier during his remarks, the Chairman of  Ibadan Zone of Shareholders’ Association, Mr Eric Akinduro, urged the SEC to intensify efforts at enticing investors to embrace the e-dividends registration.

He said that the SEC must intensify activities to entice investors to embrace the e-dividends registration for the volume of unclaimed dividends to reduce within the shortest time frame.

Akinduro appealed to the commission that Multiple account regularisation which was extended to December 2019 should be an on-going process; for many accounts are under processing, particularly deceased shareholders, adding that “standardisation of registrars operations should be introduced, across board.”

In his keynote address, Group Managing Director, Odu’a Investment Company Limited  who also served as the chairman of the event, Mr Adewale Raji, charged the shareholders’ association to take the lead in ensuring its members were duly registered.

Raji explained that in order for us to reap maximum benefits from the e-dividends mandate, there was the need for investors to take advantage of the opportunity availed by the exercise to regularize their accounts.

He said: “As a matter of responsibility, we need to encourage members to take advantage of this opportunity.

“At the Zonal or State level meeting, we need to put in place a proper process whereby we enlist people who respond and see them through the process of e-dividends registration and also address other issues relating to accessing dividends”,  Raji added.

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