SEC Seeks More Investors Patronage Of E-Dividend Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reiterated the need for investors to embrace the e-dividend platform as this will help reduce the huge unclaimed dividend portfolio in the domestic market.

The Commission said the benefit of e-dividend is enormous, as it will help reduce the unclaimed dividend in the equities market as well as make investors to have more money in their pulse.

Acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk who made this remarks on Thursday while addressing the press and the capital market community after the Commissions two-day Capital Market Committee meeting in Lagos, noting that the current figure of investors who have so far embraced the e-dividend platform stands at 2.5 million.

“We expect investors to take advantage of this opportunity to claim their unclaimed dividends and bonuses.

To this end, she disclosed that the forbearance window for multiple subscriptions and forbearance for shareholders has been extended by another year from December 31, 2018 deadline previously slated for its closure.

The e-dividend is an electronic dividend payment, which will enable an investor’s account to be credited after 24 hours that dividend is paid.

Other major nightlights of the CMC meetings includes: “The omission announced a two-pronged approach to addressing the intractable challenges associated with transmission of shares related to the estate of deceased investors. The first step would involve engagement with and enlightenment of the Probate Registry with a view to providing solutions to the cumbersome process of transmitting shares. Secondly, Rules would be developed around the time frame for transmission shares and the fee structure.

“In order to boost the e-dividend mandate and Direct Cash Settlement initiatives, the Commission gave a commitment to the market that it would engage NIBSS (Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System) on behalf of the capital market community to facilitate identity validation and account validation in an effort to enhance market processes.

“The Commission will also work with other major stakeholders in setting up a committee that will look into and proffer solutions to problems around identity management in the Nigerian capital market.

“The Commission is also collaborating with the CBN to update regulations on margin lending. We understand the expectations of the market on these issues and our deliberations would address them appropriately.

“In furtherance of the commitment to develop a vibrant Commodities eco-system, the Commission has commenced the implementation of measures to strengthen regulatory capacity by establishing a Commodities Division. Other recommendations of the Committee have been broken down into implementable plans with set timelines.

“An interesting development in the commodities sector is the innovative solution developed by AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX) and its partners regarding the use of Blockchain Technology to streamline the process of financing agriculture to Smallholder farmers and other players in the commodities markets.

“We formally inaugurated the Fintech Roadmap Committee, Chaired by Ade Bajomo. The Committee is expected to develop a Fintech roadmap for the capital market within the next three months.

“You may recall that at the first CMC press briefing, we reported that the Commission was working with National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to institute a stand-alone capital market curriculum for basic and senior secondary education in Nigeria. This collaboration has reached an advanced stage, as the Planning and Writing Workshop took place during the week. The respective Trade Groups resolved to honour their commitments towards funding the initiative.

“The Financial Literacy Committee, has developed a webpage dedicated to providing relevant financial literacy material on the capital market and the financial sector for investors. A link has been created on the Commission’s website.

“The market provided an update on the Electronic distribution of annual accounts by public companies to shareholders. It was reported that the shareholders have largely accepted the new initiative and are willingly providing their email addresses. It was agreed that further sensitization would be carried out by stakeholders to enlighten shareholders on the benefits of the initiative.

“On the need to grow the market for trading in securities on unlisted public companies, the Commission is making concerted efforts in collaboration with CAC and other stakeholders to assist public companies that are yet to register their securities to do so without much difficulty.

“Similarly, in order to enhance investors’ confidence in the market, the Commission is stepping up efforts to ensure that public unlisted companies provide quarterly and annual performance reports. This would assist investors to make more informed investment decisions.

“As part of efforts to eliminate underhand dealings, the Commission is set to take enforcement actions against any persons engaged in trading in the shares of public unlisted companies outside a recognised securities exchange as provided by the Rules.

“With respect to the registration of Trade Groups, currently 6 TG have registered with the Commission while those yet to do so were urged to comply with the directive. This is an important development as it would facilitate implementation of the complaints management framework amongst other benefits. In the same vein, CMOs were enjoined to register with their respective trade groups.

“The Committee on Minimum Operating Standards has also submitted its final report and a timeframe for implementation of the standards would be announced soon.

“The Commission announced that it was awaiting the final report of the e-IPO Committee in order to issue guidelines and develop the rules for e-IPOs. In this regard, the Committee is expected to submit its report in two weeks”, it added.





Post Author: Friday Ekeoba