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INVESTORS SPEAK: Investors’ right does not exist in Nigeria

BY WILLIAM JIMOH & HANNAH ISIBOR

The Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), the law that governs how companies are  managed, and other investment laws in the country conveys some rights on those who invests in these companies, investors who spoke to Vanguard’s Investors’ forum however insist that these rights only exist  on paper. Excerpt:

I have lost interest absolutely — Evangelist Avapa
Many a times, I don’t want to talk about anything shares because it has really brought me down financially. The company I had shares with was sold and they have to divide our share by 25 units making useless of our money. In all this decision making process, we were only informed and not carried along. So, how are you going to tell me that an investor in this kind of situation has any right? We don’t even know what guided them in making the decision; we just find it in the newspaper.

And just like the Nigerian government doesn’t protect the rights of her ordinary citizens, the regulators are not protecting investor’s rights. The situation in the market for a minority shareholder is a hopeless one because they don’t have the sense of belonging with the leadership of the companies.

Nothing tangible happens at AGM —Olu Gabriel
Why I don’t go to their meetings is because they manipulate the process to the extent that they don’t usually come out with the right decision. It is the directors that keep wasting the money. Though they all keep sending their annual reports and account statements but not many of them are giving dividend, some of them have not even given it for two, three years.

I do not attend the AGMs because even when you go and you have something to say, they will not call you regardless of how many times you may raise your hand. It is those that are their people, who they believe would talk in their favour that would be allowed to talk.

I have lost interest in the companies’ activities — Anonymous
I do not think that I am particular about any right as an investor. All I know is that I gave them my money and they no longer send my dividend like before. For the Annual General Meetings, I have stopped attending, though they keep sending notifications. to me, it is becoming a waste of time.

Investor’s right does not exist in Nigeria — Disu Tajudeen Adebayo
When you talk about investors’ right, what is glaring is that we have it only on paper, but in reality, it does not really exist, because like the Central Bank which protects the right and interest of the depositors, so should the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) protect investors’ right, but because of certain challenges the SEC Director- General is facing presently, she is not effective.

The fact is that investors’ right has always been trampled upon as revealed recently, when about three banks were nationalised, which made a lot of investors to lose so much money, and what did SEC do about that? nothing.

And when you talk about the right of the investor in relation to the company where they have shares, if it is as we have in developed countries and like we also have it in CAMA, the investor is entitled to take part in making decisions for the running of the company. He should have access to information regarding the performance or otherwise of the company as contained in its annual report at the end of every year.  FORUM-2

Voting on company issues at shareholders’ Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and other meetings are some of the shareholders’ right but like I have told you, all these things are affected by the Nigerian factors, they do not work. There is a lot of problem with implementation.

Take shareholders’ voting right for example, you discover that the Board of Directors of companies have already made their decisions before the general meeting;  it is just like push over or robber-stamp. For instance, if a company said it is giving a dividend of a particular amount, do you think it can be changed at the meeting? But in a developed economy, it can be changed.

And talking about the company’s audit and account process, it appears as if the investors are really been represented, but I will tell you that there is nothing the minority shareholder can do in this kind of atmosphere, because it is usually left  to three persons that represent them in decision making.

What we often see is that they give us umbrella or something like that to pamper us, but the main issues,  which are the decisions that affect their investment, have been taken already.

Another issue is that a lot of power is given to the majority shareholder, that is those that have the largest shares in the company; it is more or less like a dictator. Conoil and Dangote are owned by those having the largest shares. When somebody owns more than 70 to 75 percent, and he is not ready to let go, what can the minority shareholders do?

There is need to tell them not to own more than a particular percent, maybe 40 or 50 percent because that is how it is done in civilized countries. What I am saying is that we need to look into the distribution of shares if investors will ever be able to claim any right.

I will hold the leaders of the shareholders associations responsible for the denial of the investors’ right, because many of the companies bribe and buy them before the meetings. So, they go there and only act like sycophants. And some of the auditors are also feeding the shareholders with wrong information. Those are the people that should be held responsible at that level.

Before the AGM, the Secretary or the PRO of the company will go and see the leaders of the shareholders’ associations and with this, they will not say the truth. They will just praise sing, ‘you have done well.’ They did  the same thing  to Union Bank and other banks  that were nationalised, who up  to the last minute, they were  praising. Where are they now?  Those leaders are shameless; they will not stop saying they are doing well when their masses are suffering.

You need not be told that a Nigeria investor has no right; you just come to any of their meetings and see how they are being treated when it has to do with their right.

My conclusion is that the regulators and the leaders of the shareholders’ associations are the ones to fight and ensure that the right of ordinary shareholder is protected since that is the reason why they exist, to regulate and to fight, as well as protect the interests of their members.

Complaints and investigations

Bank PHB, Transcorp, no dividend, no bonus
I bought 4,000 units of ordinary shares in April 2008 with certificate no 256484 of Bank PHB. Up to date, no dividend, no bonus. Also, that of Transcorp, I bought 1,000 units of the shares. My certificate no is 176909 in July, 2007. Since then, no dividend, no bonus. Oguche Nathaniel.

Investors Forum
Bank PHB is one of the banks nationalised by the Central Bank of Nigeria by revoking their licences and transferring their asset to new banks. Consequently, the assets of Bank PHB were transferred to Keystone bank. The implication is that Bank PHB no longer exists and its shareholders have lost their shares in the bank. For your investments in Transcorp, contact the registrars of the company i.e African Prudential Registrars Plc,  220B, Ikorodu Road, Palmgrove Lagos. Tel  +234-1-8401153 +234-1-8931501;  Email: info@africaprudentialregistrars.com

Where did Aims Asset Mgt Abuja move to?
I made cash investment of one hundred and five thousand naira only (N105,000) with Aims Asset Management Ltd, Abuja Branch Office in November/ Decemebr 2008. The office has been relocated to a new place and I  have lost contact of the new office address. May I know the value of my investment now and office Address in Abuja? Agbo Emmanuel Igoche

Investors Forum
Please contact the head office of the company at 23, Ajao Road, Off Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, or 01- 2120049, 2120051, 2347029523916, 8095988382

Any report from Daar Communications?
I invested in DAARCOM during its last public offer and shares certificate was issued to me. Since then, I have not received or seen its Annual report. What is happening to the company? S.E Omoregie

Investors Forum
The company is yet to declare any financial result or dividend since its public offer and subsequent listing on the stock exchange. Maybe, it would do so this year. Meanwhile, it is expedient you register your shares with the Central Securities and Clearing System (CSCS), by taking the certificates to your stockboker for verification.

First Bank, where are my dividends?
I bought shares of First Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc. I bought the shares directly from the banks during their public offers and collected the certificates from both. But since then, Access Bank has given me dividend but First Bank has not. I don’t know what the problem with First Bank is. Lovely.

Investors Forum
Contact First Registrars at Plot 2, Abebe Village Road Iganmu or call 234-1-773086, 7743309, 2701078, 2701079.

 


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.