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SEC Decries Low Response to Electronic Dividend Initiative

Goddy Egene

The Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gawarzo monday decried the low level of investors’ enrolment to the electronic -dividend platform in the last three months.

Gwarzo stated this at the third quarter post-Capital Market Committee (CMC) news conference held in Lagos, disclosing the commission had realised slow pace in terms of implementation of the e-dividend initiative.

He therefore urged investors to embrace the policy to reduce the spate of unclaimed dividend in the market, insisting that the December 31, 2017 deadline for the discontinuation of physical dividend warrants remain sacrosanct.
According to him, any investor that fails as enroll for e-dividend as from January 1, 2018, would pay the sum of N150 for registration.

“In the last three or four months, there has not been appreciable increase in terms of number of enrolment, that is why we felt there is a need for us to have a conversation with the registrars and bankers. The registrars agreed to the discussion, we expect in the next two or three months to see a significant improvement in terms of enrolment. To leverage on that and to be able to optimise the support we have received, SEC has also been in the vanguard of public enlightenment,” Gwarzo said.

Also speaking, Head, Vertical Markets Group, Mr. Samuel Oluyemi, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), said that a total of 50,819 e-dividend mandate registration in August and 59,204 in September.

He said that the figure dropped to 37,153 in October against the targeted figure of 50, 000 registration monthly.
He stated that the drop in the e-dividend called for collaboration among key stakeholders at driving SEC awareness campaign initiative.

“The free registration window is ending December 31, 2017 and our expectation at NIBSS is to have 50,000 registration every month”, he said.

Oluyemi stated that NIBSS dedication to the initiative was irreversible, adding that, 136 stockbrokers had been connected to the portal as well as 16 registrars.

“What we have done with e-dividend portal is to ascribe each quoted companies to their registrars. When an investors pick a form, the companies managed by those registrars are listed under them. The beauty of what we have put in place now is to ensure that stockbrokers begin to play a critical role in the e-dividend mandate registration of investors,” Oluyemi said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the market performance, Gwarzo said that the last quarter was good, attributing the growth to significant improvement in the market activities.

“Generally, the market in the last quarter has done quite well and we expect the momentum to be maintained,” he said.