SEC Head office
Capital market registrars in the country have urged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to implement the recommendations of the Registrars’ Information Technology Infrastructure Review Committee as a way of resolving all share registration challenges in the market.
Rising unclaimed dividends and delay in certificate verification, among others, are some of the challenges stakeholders are contending with in the market. Regulators have been finding a way out of these challenges without much progress.
However, THISDAY checks have revealed that the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR) has advised SEC to implement the recommendations made in the report by a Committee that was submitted in 2011 as a way out.
A source close to ICMR, who confirmed this development, said officials of the Institute told the SEC board during a recent meeting in Lagos that the report contained all that is required to fix the problems retarding share registration business and discouraging many investors.
“The report we are talking about was submitted since 2011 and has not been touched by the commission. While it is understandable that the regulator had some challenges last year and did not have a board for six months, a new board has taken over. That is why officials of ICMR made it clear to the new board that the recommendations in that report, which are all-encompassing, hold the key to share registration business in the capital market,” the source said.
According to the source, what should be done to tackle unclaimed dividends, what to do to ensure that operators upgrade their performance to globally competitive levels in terms of infrastructure and manpower resources, are contained in the report.
Among all the challenges, the issue of unclaimed dividends has raised more dust, given the rate at the amount is growing. Although it is still uncertain, unclaimed dividends in the market are said to be over N50 billion. The Director General of SEC, Ms. Arunma Oteh, had blamed the rising unclaimed dividends on the challenges facing the postal system in the country and ignorance on the part of shareholders.
According to her, when shareholders change addresses, they failed to inform the registrars of companies they invested in, saying that this made them to be unable to receive dividend warrants.
She had however, said the commission was making concerted efforts to reduce amount of unclaimed dividends to a reasonable level this year.
“We have gone into various discussions with registrars and company directors on how this amount can be reduced, and we are sure all these efforts will yield positive results in the next few months,” Oteh said.