In a move to ensure more investors regularize their accounts thereby reducing the volume of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market, the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has announced an extension of forbearance on such accounts to December 31, 2019.
This among others was part of the decisions reached at the end of the 3rd Capital Market Committee, CMC meeting held in Lagos, Thursday.
Recall that the SEC had announced December 31st 2018 as deadline for regularization of multiple accounts.
Briefing newsmen, Acting Director General of the SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk said the committee considered the issue and decided its best to give investors more time to regularize their multiple accounts in order to derive the benefits from their investments.
She said “I am delighted to report that on the lingering issue of multiple subscriptions and forbearance for shareholders with multiple accounts, the CMC agreed that the forbearance window should be extended by another year from the December 31, 2018 deadline previously communicated. We expect investors to take advantage of this opportunity to claim their unclaimed dividends and bonuses”.
Uduk also 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”
Worried by issues of identity theft in the capital market, the Acting DG said the Commission will 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.
Similarly, Uduk said 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.
On the need to grow the market for trading in securities on unlisted public companies, she said 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.
“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” she added.
In order to boost the e-dividend mandate and Direct Cash Settlement initiatives, Uduk said 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.
She also disclosed that the market provided an update on the Electronic distribution of annual accounts by public companies to shareholders and 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.
The CMC meeting is a periodic gathering of stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market to discuss capital market related matters.