December 31 Deadline For e- Dividend Sacrosanct – SEC

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By OLUSHOLA BELLO And KAYODE TOKEDE, Lagos –

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that the 31 December deadline for stoppage of issuance of physical dividend warrants in the nation’s capital market remains unchanged.

Speaking at the Capital Market Committee (CMC) press briefing yesterday in Lagos, the director-general of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo said that there is no going back on the Commission’s decision to stop dividend warrant by December 31, 2017, notwithstanding the slow pace in the implementation of the e-dividend policy.

“This is an initiative that is very close to our heart and at the last count, there are about 2.1 million Nigerians who have keyed into it. But in the last three or four months, there has not been  appreciable increase in terms of number of enrolment, that is where we felt there is a need for us to have a conversation with the registrars and bankers.”

Gwarzo pointed out that the registrars agreed to the discussion, saying , ”We expect in the next two or three months to see a significant improvement in terms of enrolment.”

\He added that to leverage on that and to be able to optimise the support received,  SEC had also been in the vanguard of public enlightenment.   He stated that as at December 31, any Nigerian that has not registered for e-dividend will now have to pay N150 for registration.

Also, head, Vertical Markets Group, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) Mr. Samuel Oluyemi, while speaking at the event, said, “The E-dividend mandate registration was at 50,819 in August and 59,204 registration in September and dropped to 37,153 in October. The drop in the E-dividend further calls for collaboration among key stakeholders at driving awareness.”

According to him, the free registration window is ending December 31, 2017 and our expectation at NIBSS is to have 50,000 registrations every month.

“The dedication of NIBSS on E-dividend mandate is irreversible with 136 stockbrokers  connected to the portal with 16 registers.

“What we have done with E-dividend portal is to ascribe the quoted companies to their registers. When an investor picks a form, the companies managed by those registrars are listed under it.

“The beauty of what we have put in place now is to ensure that stockbrokers begin to play a critical role in the e-dividend mandate registration of investors.”

SEC had in 2016 announced June 30, 2017, as deadline for issuance of physical dividend warrants but later extended it to December 31, 2017 to shareholders by quoted companies to tackle unclaimed dividends and mitigate the risks associated with warrants.