By Babajide Komolafe
Last week, Investors Forum received the following emails from two readers with respect to the Electronic Dividend Mandate Management System (e-DMMS) portal.
“Please I like to know if the e-dividend payment system when approved will be automatically applied to all shareholders with various companies (Anongu Mathias)
“I wish to seek your help (advice) on registration for dividend mandate (e-DMMS). I live in Benin and approached some banks for the online registration for e-dividend and none is registering or they have not even heard about it. I believe most registrars are in Lagos, thus I want you to advise me if there is another way I can get my registration done.” (HabeebIbrahim)
While the first email indicates a huge gap on the part of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the implementation of the e-DMMS, the second reinforces the point made in the last edition of Investors Forum, which is the lack of awareness about the e-DMMS among bank staff.
The first email would not have been necessary if SEC had generated ‘Frequently Asked Questions”, in anticipation of likely questions and concerns among investors about the initiative. As at the time of going to press, SEC has not done this. In fact it has remained silent about the e-DMMS. Not only has the Commission remained silent, it has also withdrawn from its website notice about charges to be paid by investors to register on the e-DMMS platform. In addition, operators, especially the registrars and banks have been silent about the initiative. With the exception of Vanguard Newspaper, nobody is talking or making attempt to talk to investors about the e-DMMS.
The second email, reveals the frustration being experienced by millions of investors across the country, who are already making moves to register on the platform. The banks, given their widespread branch network are critical to success of the e-DMMS, yet more than three months after inception, banks’ staffs are not aware of the initiative. This communicates to investors’ lack of seriousness about the e-DMMS on the part of SEC and CBN.
The two emails show that investors are interested but the regulators are not ready. Should this trend continue, investors would lose interest, and the e-DMMS would be ‘Dead on Arrival’.
But investors should not allow this to happen because they are the ultimate beneficiaries of the e-DMMS. Rather, investors should put pressure on SEC and CBN to expedite deployment of the portal by registrars and banks.
On the part of SEC, it is time to show seriousness with the e-DMMS. There should be communication to address the above observations and concerns. There must be reasons why, three months after inception, registrars and banks are not aware or even making attempt to deploy the e-DMMS portal. It is the responsibility of SEC to provide these reasons; otherwise, it would imply the e-DMMS has been suspended. (Send comments and enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org).