The closing date for the free e-dividend registration sponsored by the Securities and Exchange Commission has again been extended to February 28.

SEC in a statement said the extension became necessary to allow more shareholders participate in the initiative.

The statement said in reviewing the progress of the e-Dividend Registration after the Dec. 31, 2017 deadline, there was still a great influx of shareholders desirous of mandating their Bank accounts for payment of dividends electronically.

“In light of the foregoing, the SEC, as part of its developmental role, has extended the period for the FREE e-Dividend registration till Feb. 28, 2018, to encourage more shareholders mandate their bank accounts.”

“Accordingly, shareholders that are yet to register should continue to approach their Banks or Registrars to mandate their Bank Accounts for the collection of their Dividends electronically, including unclaimed dividends, not exceeding 12 years of issue,” it said.

Acting Director-General of SEC, Dr Abdul Zubair, who also made the announcement at a news conference recently, said that all investors that had yet to enroll are enjoined to continue with the registration.

This he said was to “encourage many more investors to consolidate their multiple subscriptions into one account, the SEC wishes to announce an extension of the forbearance for Multiple Accounts till March 31, 2018.

“Accordingly, investors that bought shares of the same company during public offers, using different names, are allowed till March 31, 2018 to continue to approach their stockbrokers or registrars, to regularize their shareholdings in line with SEC rules on customer identification.” He said.

The commission has also notified registrars to halt the issuance of paper warrants with effect from January 1st 2018.  Paper warrants issued prior to that date remain valid and should be accepted by banks.

Tales of Postponement

SEC launched the e-dividend platform in July 2015 and set December 2015 as a deadline. After protests by shareholders, the deadline was shifted to December 2016. In January this year, it decided to extend it till June 30, 2017. It was again extended til December 31st 2017. SEC also created a portal, for shareholders to search for stocks they own and register for electronic dividends.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the apex regulatory body for Nigerian capital markets. The SEC came into existence in 1979, following a comprehensive review of the Nigerian financial system, with the promulgation of SEC Decree No. 71 of 1979.

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