Stakeholders proffer Solutions to Unclaimed Dividend

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Stakeholders proffer Solutions to Unclaimed Dividend

The lingering concerns over unresolved issue of rising value of Unclaimed Dividend in the Nigerian Capital Market took centre stage at the weekend as one the key issues that dominated the 25th Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) in Lagos.

Participants which comprise regulators, operators and investors were unanimous in their call for review of processes and procedures for claiming such dividend for seamless access for the beneficiaries while at the same time making investment of the fund by the government or quoted commodities unprofitable.

About N170 billion is believed to be the value of Unclaimed Dividend in Nigeria with fears that it will continue to soar as there is no concrete solution towards it.

In what was tagged “ Round Table Discussion-Unclaimed Dividend and suggestions for 2021”, participants identified the causes as : Legacy issues, arising from indigenization exercise of 1972 and privatization programme of 1990 when many investors used multiple accounts and this predated the issuance of BVN, complex processes of by Registrars, Stockbrokers, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) and even Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), making deployment of Bank Verification Number (BVN) ineffectual, high cost of unclaimed dividend on the part of minority shareholders, lack of unique and centralized identity management and complex processes of Estate Account for unclaimed dividend among the Registrars.

Among the solutions to minimize the spate include the need to streamline the processes for unclaimed dividend, including the use of unique identity management and zero cost for the investor and deployment of more technology to ease the process of dividend collection.

Other proposed measures are that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should enforce the necessary rules by sanctioning any operator that makes payment of unclaimed dividend cumbersome, reform of the law to protect minority shareholders such as expunging the statute bar on unclaimed dividend, harmonious relationship among all operators to ensure that dividend is paid promptly.
They also noted that there should be a new policy initiatives to discourage companies from profiting from unclaimed dividends.

The climax of the Conference is the Institute’s induction of 321 new Associates and 40 Fellows.

Besides, the Institute announced the commencement of its full-blown remote examination as candidates from the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong participated in its Professional Examination last September.

In his welcome address at the Institute’s 25th Annual Conference in Lagos yesterday, the President and Chairman of Council, Mr Olatunde Amolegbe explained that activities such as National Workshops and Conferences were ultimately aimed at sustaining the Institute’s advocacy role . Amolegbe noted both the Institute’s National Workshop held in Abuja In August this year and the current Conference were geared towards economic development.

“ The Annual Conference is slightly different in concept from the National Workshop, because it is primarily a family event. However, the two events are strategically similar, because of their focus on economic and capital market advocacy, with the intention of ultimately achieving significantly increased economic activity nationwide using a strong, inclusive and efficient capital market as an essential tool.”, Amolegbe said.

According to him, the 25th Annual Conference with the Theme: “Capital Market as a Catalyst for Economic Development and Sustainable Growth” delves deep into the area of macroeconomics on how the government, corporate bodies and individual investors can harness investment opportunities through the capital market.

“ Our Institute is on record as being one of the first organizations in Nigeria to embrace technology as its new way of life. CIS was the first professional body to conduct a full-fledged computer based examination diet.
The Institute conducts the required training and certification for those candidates that are deemed qualified to practice. As no person is permitted to perform core professional functions in the Nigerian Capital Market without obtaining appropriate certification from the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers.“ he said.

The Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market, Honourable Babangida Ibrahim in his goodwill message assured the Institute of continuous support of the government in ensuring that the capital market attracts more participants across different levels.

The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki explained that there was a nexus between the development of a country’s capital market and the economy as reflected in the percentage of market capitalization to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of developed economies.

Amolegbe said some of the Institute’s achievements included provision of free life assurance to all our members, reviewing of Membership Rules and Regulation as well as Members Code of Conduct documents to bring them to world class standards, commissioning of a state-of-the-art office complex to provide a conducive atmosphere for staff and members alike and making significant strides in amending the Act that establishes the Institute for global competitiveness amongst others.

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