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Shareholders complain over SEC’s e-dividend mandate, say it is too difficult

Babajide Okeowo

Shareholders in the Nigeria capital market have described the e-dividend mandate which was imposed by the market’s regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as being too difficult.

According to the shareholders, the e-dividend process is difficult, therefore making it extremely impossible for them to claim their dividends. Note that dividends valued at N126.03 billion are currently unclaimed because shareholders find the e-dividend process “difficult”.

A shareholder, Mrs. Olabisi Deji-Folutile, revealed that the process is not as easy as the Securities and Exchange Commission had made it seem. According to her, she has been unable to receive any dividends despite completing the registration eight months ago.

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“I went through my stockbroker and they told me they were going to process it through the registrars, but I have not heard anything from them.

“We need to know what is happening to our unclaimed dividends. I have shares in First Bank, Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, NPF Microfinance Bank, among others, but no dividends. They say maybe we have issues. But I was not told I have any issue. I provided all the documents needed. They need to tell us what is going on or what else we need to provide to receive our dividends.”

Other investors have shared similar experiences. Mr. Olalekan Oregbesan even alleged that it is the registrars that make it strenuous due to their verification processes. In reaction to this, the Institute of Market Registrars argued that the identification/verification process is necessary for obvious reasons. In the meantime, Mary Uduk, SEC’s acting Director-General, recently disclosed that dividends that not claimed by shareholders within fifteen months would be returned to companies.