SEC Says E-Dividend Registrants to Expect Multiple Alerts on Unclaimed Dividends

—Extends Multiple Subscription Deadline to Dec 2019

Mary Uduk, Acting Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Nigeria and her team

November 15, 2018

By InvestAdvocate

Lagos (INVESTADVOCATE)-The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday said investors who key into the e-dividend initiative are to expect multiple alerts accruing from unclaimed dividends.

This is coming on the heels of the last Capital Market Committee (CMC) press briefing of the year 2018 held by Mary Uduk, acting director general (Ag DG) of SEC and her management team in Lagos Nigeria.

“I am delighted to report that on the lingering issue of multiple subscriptions and forbearance for shareholders with multiple accounts, the CMC agreed that the forbearance window should be extended by another year from the December 31,2018 deadline previously communicatedWe expect investors to take advantage of this opportunity to claim their unclaimed dividends and bonuses,” Uduk said. 
 
According to the SEC Ag DG, in order to boost the e-dividend mandate and Direct Cash Settlement initiatives, the Commission gave a commitment to the market to engage the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) on behalf of the capital market community to facilitate identity validation and account validation in an effort to enhance market processes.

SEC in a move to ensure more investors regularise their accounts thereby reducing the volume of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market, also announced the extension of forbearance on such accounts to December 31, 2019.

The Commission in order to encourage investors had earlier extended its free e-dividend registration deadline to February 28, 2018 to encourage more shareholders mandate their bank accounts  

Also, SEC had announced a December 31st 2018 as deadline for regularisation of multiple accounts; but at the end of the last CMC meeting said it has been extended by year to December 2019.

“The committee considered the issue and decided its best to give investors more time to regularise their multiple accounts in order to derive the benefits from their investments,” Uduk said.

Uduk also announced a two-pronged approach to addressing the intractable challenges associated with transmission of shares related to the estate of deceased investors. 

The first step would involve engagement with and enlightenment of the Probate Registry with a view to providing solutions to the cumbersome process of transmitting shares. 

Secondly, Rules would be developed around the time frame for transmission shares and the fee structure,

The SEC Ag DG said worried by issues of identity theft in the capital market, the Commission will work with other major stakeholders in setting up a committee that will look into and proffer solutions to problems around identity management in the Nigerian capital market.

Also, Uduk said as part of efforts to eliminate underhand dealings, the Commission is set to take enforcement actions against any persons engaged in trading in the shares of public unlisted companies outside a recognised securities exchange as provided by the Rules.

“As part of efforts to eliminate underhand dealings, the Commission is set to take enforcement actions against any persons engaged in trading in the shares of public unlisted companies outside a recognised securities exchange as provided by the Rules,” she affirmed.

The SEC Ag DG said the Commission on the need to grow the market for trading in securities on unlisted public companies is making concerted efforts in collaboration with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and other stakeholders to assist public companies that are yet to register their securities to do so without much difficulty.

According to Uduk, SEC in furtherance of the commitment to develop a vibrant Commodities eco-system, has commenced the implementation of measures to strengthen regulatory capacity by establishing a Commodities Division. “Other recommendations of the Committee have been broken down into implementable plans with set timelines,” she added.

She further affirmed that an interesting development in the commodities sector is the innovative solution developed by AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX) and its partners regarding the use of Blockchain Technology to streamline the process of financing agriculture to Smallholder farmers and other players in the commodities markets. 

Below is her speech at the 2018 last post Capital Market committee press briefing:

1. Welcome ladies and gentlemen of the press to the lastCapital Market Committee (CMC) Press Briefing of the year 2018. 
2. As you are well aware, the Nigerian Capital Market Committee (CMC) held its third quarterly meeting for the year 2018 on Wednesday, November 14th, 2018. The meeting as we all know is a periodic gathering of stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market to discuss capital market related matters. 
3. The event was well attended by stakeholders in the market, and featured presentations by various Market Technical Committees, Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs) and other Stakeholders.
4. In keeping with tradition, participants held robust deliberation on various issues affecting the overall performance of the capital market. The following resolutions were reached at the meeting: 

A. I am delighted to report that on the lingering issue of multiple subscriptions and forbearance for shareholders with multiple accounts, the CMC agreed that the forbearance window should be extended by another year from the December 31,2018 deadline previously communicatedWe expect investors to take advantage of this opportunity to claim their unclaimed dividends and bonuses. 

B. The Commission announced a two-pronged approach to addressing the intractable challenges associated with transmission of shares related to the estate of deceased investors. The first step would involve engagement with and enlightenment of the Probate Registry with a view to providing solutions to the cumbersome process of transmitting shares. Secondly, Rules would be developed around the time frame for transmission shares and the fee structure. 

C. In order to boost the e-dividend mandate and Direct Cash Settlement initiatives, the Commission gave a commitment to the market that it would engage NIBSS (Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System) on behalf of the capital market community to facilitate identity validation and account validation in an effort to enhance market processes.

D. The Commission will also work with other major stakeholders in setting up a committee that will look into and proffer solutions to problems around identity management in the Nigerian capital market.

E. The Commission is also collaborating with the CBN to update regulations on margin lending. We understand the expectations of the market on these issues and our deliberations would address them appropriately.

F. In furtherance of the commitment to develop a vibrant Commodities eco-systemthe Commission has commenced the implementation of measures to strengthen regulatory capacity by establishing a Commodities Division. Other recommendations of the Committee have been broken down into implementable plans with set timelines.

G. An interesting development in the commodities sector is the innovative solution developed by AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX) and its partners regarding the use of BlockchainTechnology to streamline the process of financing agriculture to Smallholder farmers and other players in the commodities markets. 

H. We formally inaugurated the Fintech Roadmap Committee, Chaired by Ade Bajomo. The Committee is expected to develop a Fintech roadmap for the capital market within the next three months. 

I. You may recall that at the first CMC press briefing, we reported that the Commission was working with National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to institute a stand-alone capital market curriculum for basic and senior secondary education in Nigeria. This collaboration has reached an advanced stage, as the Planning and Writing Workshop took place during the week. The respective Trade Groups resolved to honour their commitments towards funding the initiative.

J. The Financial Literacy Committee, has developed a webpage dedicated to providing relevant financial literacy material on the capital market and the financial sector for investors. A link has been created on the Commission’s website.

K. The market provided an update on the Electronic distribution of annual accounts by public companies to shareholders. It was reported that the shareholders have largely accepted the new initiative and are willingly providing their email addresses. It was agreed that further sensitization would be carried out by stakeholders to enlighten shareholders on the benefits of the initiative.

L. On the need to grow the market for trading in securities on unlisted public companies, the Commission is making concerted efforts in collaboration with CAC and other stakeholders to assist public companies that are yet to register their securities to do so without much difficulty.

M. Similarly, in order to enhance investors’ confidence in the market, the Commission is stepping up efforts to ensure that public unlisted companies provide quarterly and annual performance reports. This would assist investors to make more informed investment decisions.

N. As part of efforts to eliminate underhand dealings, the Commission is set to take enforcement actions against any persons engaged in trading in the shares of public unlisted companies outside a recognised securities exchange as provided by the Rules.

O. With respect to the registration of Trade Groups, currently 6 TG have registered with the Commission while those yet to do so were urged to comply with the directive. This is an important development as it would facilitate implementation of the complaints management framework amongst other benefits. In the same vein, CMOs were enjoined to register with their respective trade groups.

P. The Committee on Minimum Operating Standards has also submitted its final report and a timeframe for implementation of the standards would be announced soon.

Q. The Commission announced that it was awaiting the final report of the e-IPO Committee in order to issue guidelines and develop the rules for e-IPOs. In this regard, the Committee is expected to submit its report in two weeks.

5. We continue to seek the support of the media and continuous collaboration in order to develop the capital market to the benefit of investors and the Nation at large.

 
6. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I expect to see all of you at the upcoming journalists’ academy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 
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Efe Ebelo

opan



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