SEC has come up with a new rule that dividend would be returned to the company to start up a new business outside its original business after one year of release without claim from shareholders. In continuation from last week’s edition, shareholders disapprove of such rule. They further argued that registrars also constitute a major challenge to the issue of dividend collection. This is because they do not effect change of address received from shareholders among others.
Mrs Bisi Bakere: Pragmatic Shareholder Association of Nigeria: Companies declare dividends and promise to pay within two weeks or one month, the money will not get out of the company’s purse until after two months before they send the money to the registrar. The registrar will then start printing the dividend, which will take them about one month or more before it gets to the post office before the post office will send the dividend to individual shareholder. All these processes last for five to six months. So, we shareholders are not going to agree on that.
SEC should look into the causes of unclaimed dividends. The causes of unclaimed dividend are also from the registrars because they use shareholders money to do their own business, reason is that: for example, I was with ISAN and before I left, I wrote several registrar offices that am not using ISAN post office any longer and I gave them my new post office address. You cannot believe that till date, they still send my dividend through ISAN. It is during AGM that some members saw me and gave me my dividend, meanwhile I have written several letters to the registrars and even filled their change of address form before I left ISAN over seven years ago.
This is somebody like me that knows his left from right, what about people, (Nigerians) who are not used to this business that just buy shares and they have written the registrars may be once and they believe they have written them over change of address and these registrars will continue to post their dividends to the old address? In a situation like this, what do you want shareholders to do.
SEC should look into the problems caused by the registrars and sort it out. They should look at how many change of addresses they have received and if they have even effected the changes because this is the main problem.
I wrote over seven to eight years of a change of address and till date, they still send dividend to my old address. You can imagine. Sometimes, because this money is very huge, the registrars will first invest this money to get their own interest from it before they will start paying shareholders and some of them don’t start payment until after two months and some will not even effect the change of address because they know that if shareholders did not collect their money, the money will still be in their purse may be until after one or two years before they can take it back to the company. These things are not good.
Mr. Boniface Okezie: President, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria: We have also talked about electronic delivery to shareholders by e-dividend, which must also be pursued to a logical conclusion. We must intensify campaign on this to acquaint shareholders on the need for them to migrate to the e-dividend policy. This is going to help to eliminate these bottlenecks.
The other woman that was there messed up the whole system and that is what we are clamouring for. She talked about world class, what world class did she leave behind? She came and bastardized the market. I pray that the Acting DG who is now in place and also in a familiar terrain, (he knows the market in and out having worked in the stock exchange as a stockbroker and having worked with SEC, he is not a new comer). I believe he knows what to do because these ideas he is bringing will not help him to run the place.
If he is going to bring unpopular policy, we would not support him but every popular policy he brings out to make sure shareholders’ suffering is alleviated will our maximum support and we will help him to become a substantive DG. So he should know what he is doing because I believe he is the right caliber of person to do that job. If it is those who have worked with Arunmah that are bringing out those laws to him, he must push them out because they stand as a moon in that organization and we cannot accept that because if you have to do that, it means you have to change the CAMA.
As long as people have invested, their dependants can claim their money when they die because that is what they have laboured for in life. So, you cannot deprive their family of the money, even if it is hundred years. The money is the people’s money, their sweat, so even if it is hundred years they can come and claim their money.
Government of this country have never given anybody any succour, so when people suffer to make money and they use that money to invest and you want that money to go down the drain, it can never happen.