By Nkiruka Nnorom
The Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR) has said that the introduction of electronic dividend payment system has so far been successful as it has led to the payment of close to 80 to 100 percent of declared dividends on the payment date.
The institute also stated that only 10 percent of all outstanding unclaimed dividend is held by registrars, while the remaining 90 percent is transferred to the issuers.
The disclosure yesterday by ICMR is coming on the backdrop of the plan by the federal government to transfer dividends that have remained unclaimed for up to 12 years to the federation account as federation revenue.
The institute’s President/Chairman of Council, Seyi Owoturo, stated this yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting with the House Committee on Capital Market and Institutions investigating rising value of unclaimed dividends and unremitted withholding tax on dividend.
He noted that prior to the establishment of electronic dividend payment system, as much as 45 to 60 percent of declared dividends remain unclaimed for up to six months after the payment date.
According to him, registrars working with other capital market stakeholders, including the the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are doing everything possible to clear the backlog of unclaimed dividend, and appealed to the National Assembly (NASS) to ensure speedy passage of ICMR Bill before the House.
He said t.he registrars have commenced data cleansing to eliminate incomplete and invalid contact details as part of efforts to eliminate unclaimed dividend.
He further stated that the institute has developed a Lost Shares and Dividend Depository that would deal with the problem of unclaimed shares and dividends by locating and connecting the lost and unconnected investors, while payment are promptly made to investors who mandate their accounts.