SEC extends free e-dividend registration exercise by one-month

Mounir Gwarzo, Director General Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has disclosed plans to extend the free e-dividend registration deadline to March 31, from the initial February 28, 2018 deadline.

The e-registration platform was designed as part of efforts by the Capital market regulatory authority to eradicate the difficulties encountered by retail investors in claiming their dividends through their savings account.

A source close to the commission who made this known to The Guardian in a telephone conversation, said the one-month extension period is to enable the parties involved to work out modalities for the N1.50 kobo charges tagged on the registration process.

Furthermore, the source added that the third extension would allow the operators to clear the backlogs of e dividend.

The source said the parties involved in the exercise were the registrars and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, adding the appointed banks were currently working out the sharing formula for the registration fee.

“We are just working out modalities on how to start collecting the N1.50 kobo charges. We are not planning to do another extension; once the appointed banks are ready with the sharing formula for the registration, we go on with the charges.”

He said that the commission would not come publicly to announce another extension, noting that no investor would be charged for delay in the registration until April 1, 2018.

The source said that low investors’ response to the exercise contributed to the commission’s decision to give room for enrolment of more investors.

From a little over N2 billion in 1999, the figure by the end of 2008 had risen to about N20 billion. And now the SEC estimate that the value of the unclaimed dividends had increased to about N103 billion as at December 2017.

This is despite measures put in place by the SEC to stem the rising figure and put an end to the cankerworm, investors’ returns on investment have continued to accumulate on a yearly basis without being claimed.
SEC in June 2017 extended the underwriting cost of investors’ e-dividend registration to Dec. 31, 2017 against the earlier deadline of June 30, 2017.

It also on January 18 extended the deadline to Feb. 28, 2018, to encourage more shareholders’ participation in the scheme.

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