Nigeria’s capital market investors are not happy with the e-dividend mandate which was imposed by the market’s regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Some of the frustrated shareholders have described the process as “a scam”.
Why their grievance? According to the shareholders, the e-dividend process is difficult, therefore making it extremely impossible for them to claim their dividends. Note that dividends valued at N126.03 billion are currently unclaimed because of the so-called “difficult” process.
A shareholder, Mrs Olabisi Deji-Folutile, told reporters that the process is not as easy as the Securities and Exchange Commission had made it seem. According to her, she has been unable to receive any dividends despite completing the registration eight months ago.
“I went through my stockbroker and they told me they were going to process it through the registrars, but I have not heard anything from them.
“We need to know what is happening to our unclaimed dividends. I have shares in First Bank, Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, NPF Microfinance Bank, among others, but no dividends. They say maybe we have issues. But I was not told I have any issue. I provided all the documents needed. They need to tell us what is going on or what else we need to provide to receive our dividends.”
Other investors have shared similar experiences. Mr Olalekan Oregbesan even alleged that it is the registrars that make it difficult due to their extremely strenuous verification processes. In reaction to this, the Institute of Market Registrars argued that the identification/verification process is necessary for obvious reasons.
In the meantime, Mary Uduk, SEC’s acting Director-General, recently disclosed that dividends that are not claimed by shareholders within fifteen months would be returned to companies. The unclaimed dividends could then be plowed back into such companies, thereby facilitating their operations and ultimately increasing shareholders’ prospects of making more money in the future.