Shareholders of quoted companies are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, to address the various problems faced in the course of regularising the multiple share subscriptions, saying that the extension of the deadline from December 2018 to December 2019 will not be adequate to achieve its purpose to reduce unclaimed dividend in the country.
By Peter Egwuatu
Boniface Okezie, Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, PSAN:
YES, I support the recent postponement of the deadline for the forbearance of multiple share subscription from December this year to December 2019 as announced by the commission. However, this does not mean that the postponement will solve the problem.
The SEC should at the same time address the bottlenecks that shareholders often face when they meet their stockbrokers for regularisation of accounts. I have been having issues with the stockbrokers on this matter. I bought shares in the name of my children and when I took them for regulation, the stockbrokers asked for the signature of my children even when I presented the share certificate. They even ask that I should open different accounts for those shares.
So the commission should clearly stipulate in clear terms what stockbrokers should demand from people with multiple subscriptions of shares if it is sincere to meet its target. The SEC should first of all tackle those bottlenecks; otherwise the problem will remain there.
Shehu Mallam Mikail, National Chairman, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria:
ACTUALLY, it has taken long that I said that the regularisation of multiple shares subscription should be a continuous exercise. So, the postponement by the SEC is in order, nevertheless, it is not a final solution to addressing the huge unclaimed dividend. The commission has not done what it should have done to reduce multiple accounts.
I don’t know if the commission actually has the interest of minority shareholders. I had expected the commission to carry along all the shareholders groups in the country by having meeting together with the stockbrokers to find ways of addressing the bottlenecks in terms of requirements of documents needed to consolidate these multiple accounts. The awareness is not there and this is what is expected from SEC.
Emmanuel Itipah, National Coordinator, Forum for Shareholders Rights:
I THINK there is need for more awareness, so the postponement is in good order. There are some obstacles that the SEC needs to address. Some of obstacles that shareholders face are some of the things making the regularisation exercise very slow.
When shareholders get to their stockbrokers they will tell them to bring one document or the other and some of these documents may not be easy to get. In that case the shareholders become frustrated along the line. Some of these documents like getting letter of administration from probate registry; signature of the original owners and so on.
All these inhibiting factors must be addressed before we can see reasonable turnout of shareholders for the exercise.
Godwin Anono, Chairman, Professional Shareholders Association of Nigeria:
THE SEC is not taking this issue of accounts consolidation serious otherwise they should have come out clearly to tell shareholders the things that are needed to make the exercise hitch free. The stockbrokimg houses do give stringent conditions that the shareholders may not be able to meet.
These are the things that the SEC needs to address. Every genuine shareholder would like to regularise their multiple accounts in order to derive the benefits from their investments. We also expect our shareholders to take advantage of this opportunity to claim their unclaimed dividends and bonuses.