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Unclaimed dividends rise to N158.4b

Unknown buyers have amassed greater than N100 billion in unclaimed dividends as capital market regulators seek for buyers that had used fictitious names or a number of types of unique names to purchase shares in quoted firms.

Knowledge from the Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC) indicated that whole unclaimed dividend stood at N158.44 billion by final December, with unknown buyers accounting for greater than N100 billion.

The breakdown confirmed that unclaimed dividends with firms, 15 months and above, stood at N119.01 billion whereas these with registrars amounted to N14.64 billion. Unclaimed dividend lower than 15 months previous stood at N24.77 billion.

The report highlighted the persevering with drawback of unknown buyers, in any other case referred to as ‘ghost’ shareholders, who had used conjured or non-formal names and a number of accounts to purchase shares throughout the fast-selling growth of 2005-2008.

The 2005-2008 growth interval of the capital market had witnessed important enhance in public choices as a number of banks, insurance coverage firms and different non-financial quoted and unquoted firms jostle to lift funds by means of the capital market.

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To extend possibilities of extra allotments within the tight allotment course of that was the hallmark of the big oversubscriptions throughout the interval, a number of buyers resorted to make use of of a number of functions, utilizing shortened names, pseudonyms and different non-formal names. The lack to regularise these fictitious shareholdings has been the reason for rising unclaimed dividend.

The Capital Market Committee (CMC) – a consultative meeting of stakeholders within the capital market had launched the “A number of Subscription Initiative”, aimed toward regularisation of shares bought with a number of identities, by investors-otherwise referred to as ghost shareholders that conjured up many identities to safe giant allocation of shares, particularly throughout public choices. CMC had in November 2018 prolonged the deadline from December 31, 2018 to December 31, 2019.

By final August, some 3.four billion peculiar shares had been regularised below the “A number of Subscription Initiative”.

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Head, Workplace of the Chief Economist, Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC), Mr Okey Umeano, mentioned the rise in whole unclaimed dividend was largely on account of many unclaimed shares as greater than N100 billion out of the unclaimed dividend figures have been from these unclaimed shares.

In keeping with him, the quantum of unclaimed dividend would at all times be on the rise so long as there have been unclaimed shares.

“The principle concern why unclaimed dividend is rising is as a result of now we have a lot of unclaimed shares,” Umeano mentioned.

He defined that many buyers throughout the banking consolidation purchased shares with completely different names in addition to different individuals’s names which they have been but to rectify.

He famous that as firms declare dividend, these accounts would equally be paid, main to extend in unclaimed dividend determine.

He identified that the fee launched a forbearance window for a number of accounts to allow buyers that purchased shares with completely different names to regularise their accounts to be able to cut back the quantum of unclaimed dividends.

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“SEC gave a window for individuals to come back and rectify the a number of subscription factor. Many individuals have nonetheless not been capable of declare their very own as a result of a few of them have forgotten the names they used. Some haven’t been capable of show to their stockbrokers that they’re the homeowners of the shares. So, we nonetheless have a big chunk of these shares, and anytime dividends are paid, these shares usually are not claimed and people individuals don’t get their dividends,” Umeano mentioned.

He mentioned till the variety of unclaimed shares comes down, the unclaimed dividend drawback will proceed.

On the way in which ahead, he mentioned the Fee would proceed to place stress on all of the individuals concerned to be able to curb the issue of unclaimed dividends.

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