Mary Uduk

The Securities and Exchange Commission has extended the forbearance deadline for shareholders with multiple accounts to December 31, 2019 from December 31, 2018 for more investors to embrace the initiative aimed at reducing unclaimed dividends.

Mary Uduk, SEC Acting Director-General, stated this on Thursday at the third quarter Capital Market Committee post news conference held in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that SEC recently introduced a forbearance window for multiple accounts to enable investors that bought shares with different names to regularise their accounts in order to get the benefits of their investments.

The commission, in a bid to encourage many investors to consolidate their multiple subscriptions into one account, recently extended the forbearance deadline for multiple accounts to December 31.

Uduk said the CMC agreed that the forbearance window should be extended by another year from the December 31, 2018 deadline previously communicated.

He said: “We expect investors to take advantage of this opportunity to claim their unclaimed dividends and bonuses.”

Uduk said the deadline was extended because of anticipated disruptions ahead of 2019 general elections.

She also said the market regulators realised that quite a number of investors were yet to understand the initiative and the need for more investors to be captured.

Uduk urged investors to take advantage of the new deadline and regularise their accounts to reduce the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the market.

She said the commission would engage the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System to facilitate identity validation and account validation to boost the e-dividend mandate and Direct Cash Settlement initiatives.

Uduk said the exercise would address issues around identity theft and as well enhance market processes.

She said: “The commission will also work with other major stakeholders in setting up a committee that will look into and proffer solutions to problems around identity management in the Nigerian capital market.”

According to her, the commission has announced a two-pronged approach to address the intractable challenges associated with transmission of shares related to the estate of deceased investors.

Uduk said the first step would involve engagement with and enlightenment of the Probate Registry with a view to providing solutions to the cumbersome process of transmitting shares.

She added that rules would be developed around the time frame for transmission of shares and the fee structure.

Uduk noted that SEC was also collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria to update regulations on margin lending.

She said: “We understand the expectations of the market on these issues and our deliberations would address them appropriately.”

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