SEC Extends Issuance of Dividend Warrants to December 2019

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Goddy Egene

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended the deadline for the discontinuation of the issuance of dividend warrants to December 2019.

The move, according to the Commission, was to enable relevant stakeholders deliberate on and address all outstanding issues.

SEC announced the extension via circular on its website, saying the decision was also in furtherance of its  mandate to ensure that all categories of shareholders and investors are adequately protected.

According to the Commission, the extension of the deadline   for discontinuation of issuing of warrants does not stop investors to continue with the registration for electronic-dividend.

It stated that the e-dividend initiative remains critical to the complete elimination of the phenomenon of unclaimed dividend and management of the commission encourages all shareholders who are yet to do so, to get mandated on the e-dividend platform before 31st December 31, 2019.

The Commission said it recently conducted a strategic assessment of the implementation of the e-dividend initiative across the country and reviewed feedback/observations received from stakeholders and the general public.

“The assessment revealed that while remarkable progress has been recorded in concerted efforts through robust enlightenment campaigns to mobilise more shareholders to get mandated on the e-DMMS platform, there remain a few pertinent issue that need to be resolved as a precursor to the total discontinuance of the issuance of dividend warrants by Registrars” it said.

The regulator believes that when investors receive dividends electronically it would reduce unclaimed dividends. It also believes that when investors who used multiple accounts to buy shares in the boom days consolidate their accounts and begin to claim accumulated dividends, the amount of unclaimed dividends would be reduced.

The Acting Executive Commission, Corporate Services, SEC, Mr. Adekunle Rolands, recently said only 2.7 million investors had mandated their e-dividend accounts.

He had explained that since SEC asked investors to pay a token of N150 for the e-dividend registration, investors have been reluctant to enroll for e-dividends.

According to him, no investor would be asked to pay at the point of registration but the N150 will be deducted once the account has been mandated, stressing that it is just token of N150 irrespective of the fact whether the dividend is N200,000, N1 million or more.

He said SEC, registrars and banks would review the process and see how to entice investors to embrace the e-dividend registration.

Similarly, the Acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk said the multiple account regularisation was extended to December 31, 2019 as part of commitment to reduce the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the market.

“Through this exercise, some Nigerian investors in Diaspora have been able to consolidate their shareholding accounts. Similarly, several local investors with numerous accounts have also been able to consolidate their investments. 

“We therefore enjoin the general public to take advantage of this initiative to regularise their shareholding accounts before the December 31, 2019 deadline,” she said.

Uduk, recently said SEC was still awaiting the formal application of telecommunication giant, MTN to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The telco had said its shares would be listed before the end of first half of the year. 

However, Uduk, said even though the regulator has had some discussions on the planned listing of the telco, MTN  was yet to present a formal application.

“I know that MTN has decided to come to the market through listing by introduction and I know they working hard towards it and have visited the commission. But there has not been any formal application from the company,” Uduk said.

The Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ferdi Moolman, recently disclosed that save for the disagreement the company had with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last year, it would  have gone ahead with its listing plan.

According to him, they had done a lot of work on the listing and their  target was to list in 2018.