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SEC Extends E-Dividend Free Registration Period to June 30

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended investors’ free registration for electronic (e) dividend to June 30, 2017 as part of efforts to further reduce the unclaimed dividends and is growth in the capital market.
E-dividend payment platform was introduced to address the rising incidence of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market. Launched late 2015, the process requires investors to registrar for the e-dividend and SEC has undertaken to pay the cost of the enrolment throughout 2016.
That decision by the commission to underwrite the cost of the enrolment led to 48 per cent of investors to enroll for the e-dividend in 2016. Also, SEC said arising from the registration exercise, over N30 billion which was hitherto unclaimed has so far been credited to respective bank accounts of the investors.

However, SEC said in a statement yesterday that  due to challenges being experienced by investors in the course of registration, it  will continue to defray the cost till June 30, 2017.

“The commission has, however, observed with concern the challenges being experienced by investors in the course of the e-Dividend registration and therefore commits to further defray the cost of registration till June 30th, 2017 to enable investors continue to enjoy the free registration” SEC stated.
The  commission  also reminded the investing public that at the expiration of the free registration period, dividend warrants will no longer be issued as it would be replaced with electronic dividend payments.

“This decision underscores the commission’s strong focus on market development and enhancement of investor confidence. All investors in the Nigerian capital market are therefore advised to take advantage of this extended grace period by approaching their bankers or registrars for enrolment before the deadline,” the capital market regulator   said.

The Director General of  SEC, Mounir Gwarzo had recently said that efforts made by the commission to ensure that the era of stale dividends and huge unclaimed dividends in the market become a thing of the past was 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 dividends that have not been claimed, the registrars have been compelled to pay all the arrears of unclaimed dividends. 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 dividends where ever he is, that investor will be able to get dividends that in the last five years he has not been able to get. The e-dividend is for the interest of retail investors.”