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SEC: Unclaimed dividends surged 7% to N170bn in 2020

SEC: Unclaimed dividends surged 7% to N170bn in 2020
August 13
15:14 2021

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says the total unclaimed dividend in the Nigerian capital market increased by 7.3 percent from N158.44 billion at the end of 2019 to N170 billion in December 2020.

Lamido Yuguda, SEC director-general (DG), said this at the second post-capital market committee (CMC) virtual news conference on Friday.

In November 2020, the house committee on capital markets and institutions said the value of unclaimed dividends was N2.09 billion in 1999, N100 billion in 2017, and N120 billion in 2018.

Yuguda attributed the rising figure to identity management and multiple subscriptions of investors.

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“We have problems with identity management in the Nigerian capital market and this is really one of the things the commission is trying to resolve. We have set up a high powered committee to look at the issue,” he said.

“There are people who have bought shares under false names before. That is what we call the multi-subscription problem. The thing is yes there is a problem with the process and also there is a problem with us as a people.

“If you are buying securities using your own wealth, why would you use another person’s name? Why would you use a name that may not be traceable to you? And most of these things really became an issue after the introduction of BVN, because BVN is tied only to one name.”

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Yagudu said to address the issue, SEC constituted a committee on identity management for the Nigerian Capital Market in June 2021.

On the electronic dividend mandate management system (e-DMMS) portal, Yuguda said the total number of mandated and approved accounts from its inception in 2016 to July 2021 stood at 1,144,970.

The portal is a database for investors who have unclaimed dividends to register for the electronic collection of their unclaimed dividends and subsequent dividends.

He explained that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the registration exercise.

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Yuguda said members of the CMC have adopted measures to increase the number of mandated investors on the portal and reduce the rate of unclaimed dividends in the market.

Some of the measures include automation for mandating to e-DMMS; increased monitoring of adherence to procedures and increased awareness campaigns on the initiative.

He further said a training session would be organised by the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) to be supported by the e-DMMS technical committee: Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR) and Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria.

Yuguda added that a study to determine the suitability of the CSCS to process dividends of investors in unlisted companies would also be conducted.

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