Unclaimed capital market dividends hit N177 billion – SEC

The The Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Friday that unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market calculated so far have risen from 168 billion naira in 2020 to 177 billion naira in 2021.

SEC Managing Director Lamido Yuguda disclosed this in Abuja while talking about some of the outcomes of the second meeting of the Capital Markets Committee held recently in Abuja.

Responding to a question on the amount of unclaimed dividends on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Yuguda said, “The unclaimed dividends we have at the end of last year were approximately N177 billion.

“And, unfortunately, this was an increase from the number at the end of 2020, which was 168 billion naira.”

On what the commission was doing about the increase in unclaimed dividends, Yuguda replied, “The commission has done a lot on this by working with the registrars to ensure that dividends are now distributed electronically.

“This is done through investors’ bank accounts rather than through dividend warrants as was the case before. However, the problem is that people have to mandate their accounts.

“This means that you must provide your account details to the registrar so that it can be credited with dividends directly. We have observed that there are issues with this process, as at this time you will still need to go to each registrar you deal with to provide the same information.

He added: ‘But what we’re trying to do right now is get a single point of supply of that information so that when you give it to a registrar you don’t have need to repeat the information on all other registrars because they will automatically get your details.

The SEC boss noted that the second thing the commission did was to enlighten people on the many changes that had taken place in the capital market.

He further noted that despite the SEC’s efforts in implementing the electronic dividend warrant management system, investors continued to complain about the delays in electronic dividend payments and the cumbersome manual process, other shortcomings.

“A large number of investors are still unaware of the existence of eDMMS and have not mandated their accounts. The commission will, however, continue to raise awareness in this regard,” Yuguda said.

He added, “Capital market operators must also do more to demonstrate, through their activities, an efficient capital market that puts the interests of investors first.”

Yuguda also said the SEC had secured donor funding for the acquisition and deployment of a securities market surveillance system.

He said the rollout of the monitoring solution would improve the commission’s regulatory and oversight capabilities over securities trading activities and help modernize local capital markets.

“It will also ensure market integrity and transparency across all trading platforms and build investor confidence,” he said.

All of these, according to Yuguda, would bode well for the capital market and support its growth.

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