Lagos, Nigeria: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) concluded Thursday, 11 February 2016, a four (4) – day robust public enlightenment programme on E-Dividend registration in Lagos, geared towards ending the perennial issue of unclaimed dividends of equity market investors estimated at N80 billion as at the end of 2015.
The event culminated in a town hall meeting at the Muson Centre where the SEC management and director-general, Mounir Gwarzo underpined the importance of electronic dividends registration.
According to SEC, the E-dividend Management system was launched last year by the Commission in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) to enable investors have direct access to their dividends.
““E-dividends will be a major game changer for the market and very critical in ending the problem of unclaimed dividends,” Gwarzo told News Men in Lagos on Monday.
SEC is confident that its latest initiative will bolster retail investor confidence in the equities market where investors’ apathy has been partly influenced by perception of under-hand dealings by corporates when it comes to dividends claims.
The concept of the new initiative is developed around ensuring that all dividends are now paid into bank accounts of investors that have completed the electronic dividend registration.
This is part of the on-going reforms in the Nigeria capital which has since given birth to the Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Council (CAMMIC), launching of the National Investor Protection Fund (NIPF) and inauguration of its board, as well as the unveiling of the SEC Corporate Governance Scorecard for public companies.
The establishment of the NIPF and inauguration of the NIPF Board puts Nigeria among few countries with a national investor protection fund to compensate investors for pecuniary losses, arising from bankruptcy, negligence or malfeasance by a non-broker/dealer capital market operator.
The programmes are all directly linked to the 10-year capital market master plan, which the SEC began implementing last year.