The value of unclaimed dividends in Nigeria’s capital market has plunged by N29.2 billion from N80 billion, following renewed awareness campaign by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, for capital market investors to embrace the e-dividend registration introduced in 2015.
Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, who briefed newsmen last Friday in Lagos at the post-fourth Capital Market Committee (CMC) press briefing, said since the introduction of the e-dividend registration, N29.2 billion has been paid to investors out of the N80 billion unclaimed dividends as at end of last year.
He disclosed that about 1.4 million investors have keyed into the system between November 2015 and October 2016.
He said efforts made by the commission to ensure that the era huge unclaimed dividends in the market become a thing of the past is already achieving result with the e-dividend registration system.
He said: “When we started the e-dividend, the major challenge was for people to key into the e dividend mandate there are unclaimed dividend that has not been able to claim, the registrars were compelled to pay all the arrears of unclaimed dividend.”
“From November last year to October this year, over N29.2 billion unclaimed dividends has been paid out. In this country, we have never had this kind of initiative that has reduced unclaimed dividends like we had today. Apart from the investor getting his dividend where ever he is, that investor will be able to get dividend that in the last five years he has not been able to get.”
“The e dividend is for the interest of retail investors. Since we started implementing the master plan, our focus had been the retail investors to make sure they come back to the market and ensure that some of the issues they complain about are addressed.”
Gwarzo noted that aside tackling the issue of unclaimed dividends to woo retail investors back to the market, the commission has concluded plans to make the Direct Cash Settlement become operational by the first quarter of 2017.