Despite the e-dividend registration campaign embarked on by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for nearly two years, the number of unclaimed dividends in the country has steadily been on the increase.
Data from the SEC’s statistical bulletin show that the number rose from N84.3 billion in December 2012 to N129 billion in December 2017. The free registration began in 2015 and was extended to April 2018.
Dividends are returns paid to shareholders of a company out of profits made by the company. They are paid periodically upon recommendation by the board of directors.
Unclaimed dividends are those that have not been claimed by investors after six months. Under current rules, all dividend payments are to be made through electronic means.
Breakdown of the components
Unclaimed dividends with companies amounted to N99.3 billion. The ones with registrars amounted to N15 billion, while those less than 15 months old amounted to N15.2 billion.
Companies are getting a bigger chunk
Though the unclaimed dividends increased as a whole, dividends less than 15 months old have steadily decreased. From a peak of N82 billion in December 2012, they have steadily declined to N15 billion as of December 2017.
However, the portion of dividends held by the companies has been on a steady increase. From N2.3 billion in September 2012, it hit an all-time high of N99.3 billion as of December 2017. Investors that fail to claim their dividends after 12 years, forfeit them to the companies.
Reasons for the high volume
For retail investors, some of the dividends involved are so miniscule, compared to the effort required to register for the electronic dividends.
Shareholders with signatures that don’t tally with records held by the registrars have to get bankers confirmation letters.
Many of the investors are also aged, and in some cases, deceased without wills.
Last year, the SEC unveiled plans to establish an Unclaimed Dividends Trust Fund (UDTF). The fund will be managed by an asset manager, and have a board of trustees that will be overseen by the commission.
How to claim unclaimed dividends
Here is a step by step guide on how to claim your dividends.
Linkage Assurance Plc proposes N500 million as final dividend for 2020, bonus issue on existing shares
In addition to the payment of the cash dividend of 5 kobo per share, shareholders will also be issued a bonus of 2 new shares for every 5 existing shares held in the company.
The Board of Linkage Assurance Plc has proposed a final dividend of N500 million and a bonus issue to existing shareholders of the company for the period ended 31st December 2020.
The company’s Board made this announcement in a notification published on the website of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX), stating that a dividend of 5 kobo per share will be paid on all the issued 9,999,999,994 ordinary shares of the company.
In addition to the payment of the cash dividend of 5 kobo per share, shareholders will also be issued a bonus of 2 (two) new shares for every 5 (five) existing shares held in the company, amounting to N2 billion.
The following conditions must be met by shareholders, to benefit from the recent bonus issue and dividend:
- Only shareholders, whose names appear in the Register of Members at the close of business on the 30th of April, 2021 will be considered.
- Shareholders must have completed the e-dividend registration and must have mandated the Registrar (Centurion Registrars) to pay their dividends directly into their bank accounts.
- For the purpose of the dividend payment, the Register of Shareholders will be closed from 3rd to 10th of May, 2021.
Sequel to the aforementioned points, the dividend will be electronically paid to qualified shareholders on the 26th of May, 2021.
What you should know
- Linkage Assurance Plc had earlier declared a profit after tax of N2.4 billion in FY 2020, and consequently proposed a final dividend of 5 kobo per share.
- It is pertinent to note that the firm did not declare any cash dividend last year. However, it announced a bonus issue of 1 (one) share for every 4 (four) shares held by existing shareholders, amounting to N1 billion in the same period.
- Therefore, the recent bonus issue is 50% higher than what was declared in the preceding year.
- Linkage Assurance shares is currently trading at 80 kobo at the time of writing this report.
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SEC accuse CMOs of frustrating e-dividend mandate process
The DG of SEC revealed that 4.01 million accounts still have incomplete KYC information as of April 8 despite the government’s efforts.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has faulted the activities of some Capital Market Operators (CMOs) which frustrates the e-dividend mandate process, leading to a rise in unclaimed dividends in the capital market.
This is as the unclaimed dividends in the capital market were estimated to have risen to over N200 billion.
According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by the Director-General of SEC, Lamido Yuguda, while speaking at the 2021 first post-Capital Market Committee (CMC) virtual news conference.
What the Director-General of SEC is saying
Yuguda, in his statement, said that the commission was aware that some CMOs were frustrating the e-dividend mandate process.
He said, “We implore all stakeholders to comply with all directives of the Commission in this regard, as defaulters would be sanctioned appropriately. We have observed that the growth in the number of mandated accounts has been on the decline for some time.
The capital market community has directed its e-Dividend Committee to engage with the Committee of Heads of Banking Operations to encourage better cooperation from banks as we tackle the challenges of unclaimed dividends.’’
The SEC boss reminded all CMOs that the commission’s directive on the update of investors’ Know Your Customer information was still in effect noting that the level of compliance had been low in spite of several engagements by the commission.
Yuguda revealed that 4.01 million accounts still have incomplete KYC information as of April 8 despite the government’s efforts.
He said, “Despite several engagements, we realised that as of April 8, there were still 4,012,311 accounts with incomplete KYC information. This exercise is critical to deepening the participation of retail investors and we direct all CMOs to accord it the highest level of priority.’’
In case you missed it
- SEC had earlier urged all Capital Market Operators (CMOs) to update their investors’ Know Your Customer information due to the low level of compliance.
- The CMOs were also warned by SEC to stop providing any form of support to unregistered entities operating unlawfully in the country within the capital market as that would not be condoned.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Dangote Cement Plc to hold AGM on May 26th
- Linkage Assurance Plc proposes N500million as final dividend for 2020, and a bonus issue on its existing shares.