By Nkiruka Nnorom
Over time, investors in the Nigerian capital market have been complaining about the cumbersome process of taking ownership of the investments of their deceased family members. However, the Commission said it has made some progress in attempting to resolve the issues around transmission of shares related to the estate of deceased investors, adding that the process has commenced with the Lagos State Probate Registry.
Here, investors speak on the SEC’s move. Excerpt:
The New rule should cover expenses, commission paid by beneficiaries – Chibuzo Eke, ISAN member
The move by SEC to make amendments to the rule is okay because of the bottleneck that the beneficiaries go through in claiming the investment of their loved ones as soon as such holders die. So, it is very good if the Commission can ease and enhance the entire process because you discover that the beneficiaries suffer a lot.
One is that such beneficiary pay a lot of money; the administrators in processing the forms demand a lot of money from the beneficiaries. Some go as far as collecting 20 percent of the proceeds, while others collect 10 percent of the proceeds of the investment.
So, if you collect 10, 20 percent, how much will be left for the next-of-kin of the deceased investor. So, I think that if SEC can extend the rule to cover the expenses and commission paid y beneficiaries, it will be good. What we are saying in effect is that the rule should be friendly. Should an investor die, accessing what is transferred to a next-of-kin should be easy. This will bring more confidence in the market.
SEC should tidy up identity issue/theft -Christie Vincent-Uwalaka, independent investor
Nigerian factor’ has a key role to play when you talk about transfer of shares and unclaimed dividend. Transferring of shares is supposed to be easy but ‘Nigerian factor’ comes into play here.
There has been cases of people claiming dividends from shares that do not belong to them just for the simple reason that the bear the same name with the holder. I think that the move is good, but SEC should take this issue of identity theft serious. In this era of BVN, identification has become easier.
So, SEC should look at a way of using BVN as means of identification whenever someone comes forward to lay claim to a deceased investor’s investment. They should work with the banks and registrars if they want to achieve this.
Appointment of next-of-kin by deceased investor enough proof – Moses Ayodele Ogundeji, ex-banker
Once there is next-of-kin appointed by the deceased, the system of accessing the investment should, ordinarily, be very easy because in the life-time of the investor, he has already appointed a beneficiary. It’s like a Will but Nigeria, they don’t respect that.
Here, you will be asked to bring Letter of Administration and the process of getting Letter of Administration is difficult. If SEC is coming up with new rules, such rules should not be as stringent as what they intend to correct. SEC should do it in such a way that there should be dividend graduation. If the deceased appointed a next-of-kin, anything claim under N100,000 (One hundred thousand Naira), should be by simple identification, while claims above N1 million should be followed up with more stringent identification process because it is the issue of identification and legal right to the estate.
Once you can establish the legal right, I don’t think there should still be any problem. In the past, attestation of someone is done by either a banker, Notary Public or a clergy, but nowadays, this kind of attestation is no longer valid because of the level of fraud in the country.
Investors should prepare their Wills – Seun Olukoya, Assistant Gen. Sec. ISAN
It is a welcome idea because it will really simplify the many processes involved in transferring of shares like the issue of Newspaper publication, going to the court to collect Letter of Administration and all the other processes. I can tell you, the process is very cumbersome. I think it is better because it will reduce the issue of unclaimed dividends these companies have in their books.
Some of these companies still have as much as N20 billion in unclaimed dividend and they are telling us that the the money will, henceforth, go back to the companies if they remain unclaimed for six months.
I will advice investors to prepare their Wills and appoint next-of-kin. This will make issue of identification easy. I want also implore families to let their spouses and children know about any investment they are making in case of death.