By PETER EGWUATU
In order to reduce the amount of unclaimed dividend in the country, shareholders have been advised to embrace the e-dividend platform that has been introduced to the capital market.
Managing Director, First Registrars Limited, Mr. Bayo Olugbemi pledged that shareholders should key into the e- dividend platform , stressing that this will go a long way in reducing the amount of unclaimed dividend.
According to him, “ less than 30 per cent of shareholders had key into the e-dividend which is not encouraging.
Only 5 per cent of shareholders have not received their dividend in the last 10 years”. He added that there are no unclaimed dividends in bonds because all the dividend payment are electronically driven.
Speaking to capital market correspondents on Wednesday in Lagos, Olugbemi disclosed that banks have been ordered to honour dividend warrants that are paid into savings accounts.
According to him, “ what shareholders need to do to key into the e-dividend is to pick the e-dividend authorization form and fill it and submit it to the bank. In that way the bank will have no reason why it should not honour dividend warrant paid into the account.”
He said that shareholders who do not receive their dividends fall among those with outdated data. According him, “the outdated data include change of residence, change of bank accounts, change of name and to worsen the situation, the intended bill on unclaimed dividend was not on how to reach the shareholders but institution that would manage the money.
Furthermore, Oluggemi noted that despite the support given to dematerialization, share certificates are still relevant adding that in South Africa where there are greater compliant to e-transactions in the capital market share certificates still operate.
He stated that the jobs of the Registrars are hampered by many challenges that bother on investors’ resistance to change, expensive system on the shareholders’ side, regulatory policies, and poor investors’ enlightenment.
Others he noted include; slow pace of national payment system, banks’ reluctance to accept investors’ dividend in saving accounts, sale of unauthorized stocks that have become rampant, lack of transparency among operators and shallowness of the Nigerian capital market.
He therefore, called on shareholders to embrace e- transactions since the process makes
transactions and payment faster.
The First Registra boss called on the regulators in the capital market to carry on more enlightenment programmes that will enhance greater participation of investors.
In his words, “ we want the regulators to translate some of the key messages of the capital market into the three major languages that will make majority of Nigerians understands the workings and benefits of the market.