By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A total of N29.2 billion unclaimed dividends has been paid out by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to investors who before now did not claim their dividends.
This was disclosed on Friday by the Director General of SEC, Mr Mounir Gwarzo, at the end of the Capital Market Committee (CMC) press briefing.
In January 2016, Mr Gwarzo had said unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian Capital market (NCM) stood at N90 billion and advised investors to register for e-dividend to ensure receipt of the funds.
Speaking at the briefing, the SEC boss said from November 2015 to October 2016, Registrars where directed to pay arrears of unclaimed dividends and they have paid out the sum of N29.2 billion arrears of unclaimed dividend.
He further disclosed that unclaimed dividends rose by over 600 percent in the last 15 years.
In 1999, it was about N2 billion, rose steadily to N8 billion in 2008, N41billion in 2011, N60 billion in 2013, and N80 billion at the end of 2014.
Mr Gwarzo said as part of SEC’s 10-Year Nigerian Capital Market Master Plan (NCMMP), the Commission was poised to make the Direct Cash Settlement (DCS) mandatory to investors who will be inside the network unless for those who decides to opt out of the plan.
He said with the DCS, “You pay directly to investors account and we have expanded the committee on e-dividend to look into the direct cash settlement.”
He further said SEC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to infuse capital market studies (CMS) into schools’ curriculum, explained that this will enhance appreciation of a child of the capital market.
Also, Mr Gwarzo said SEC has achieved 97 percent dematerialisation and hopes to reach a 100 percent in the next three (3) months.
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