Investors that are yet to take advantage of the free e-dividend registration sponsored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could have another opportunity. Reports by the Leadership newspapers suggest the regulator may have extended the deadline albeit quietly. The paper, quoting a staff who choose to be anonymous, suggested that the deadline had been moved to April.
SEC may have taken this position due to the poor response from shareholders. For many shareholders, the size of their holdings/dividends received may be minuscule. The market had been largely in a slump till last year when the All Share Index appreciated by 42%.
Unclaimed dividends revert to the company after a period of 12 years.
A timeline of moving the goal post
SEC launched the e-dividend platform and set a deadline for the free registration at December 2015. The deadline was then extended to December 2016. After much appeal from shareholders, It was extended till June 30, 2017. SEC again moved the deadline till December 31st 2017, and then February 2018
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.
Prior to the move, unclaimed dividends running into billions of Naira, were largely abandoned by shareholders. This also created a large source of revenue for registrars who typically warehouse such funds.