The acting Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Mary Uduk, has announced the extension of the forbearance window for the regularisation of multiple subscriptions held by shareholders to December 2019.
Uduk, while addressing journalists at the third Capital Markets Committee meeting in Lagos on Thursday, said the decision was jointly made by members of the committee in a bid to reduce the volume of unclaimed dividends in the capital market.
The SEC, in August 2018, extended the deadline to December 31, 2018, to enable more people to regularise their accounts.
Uduk said the CMC agreed to shift the deadline by one year because they realised that quite a number of investors were yet to understand the importance of the regularisation exercise.
She stated that the likelihood of disruption by electioneering campaigns was also taken into consideration to enable more people to be captured in the regularisation exercise.
Uduk noted that a lot of investors had bought shares in different names, making it difficult to properly capture the data of shareholders.
She said, “There is absolutely no punishment attached to it; all we are saying is that people should come and regularise their shares. The objective is that it will reduce liquidity in the market and reduce unclaimed dividends.
“We expect investors to take advantage of this opportunity to claim their unclaimed dividends and bonuses.”
Uduk stated that the SEC would begin a two-pronged approach to address the intractable challenges associated with the transmission of shares related to the estate of deceased investors.
She added that probate registrars would be enlightened, after which rules would be developed around the time frame for transmission of shares and the fee structure.
According to her, a committee has also been set up to look into and proffer solutions to problems around identity management in the Nigerian capital market.
Uduk said enforcement actions would be taken against identity thieves and also people caught engaging in trading in the shares of public unlisted companies outside a recognised securities exchange as provided by the rules.
Uduk said, “The commission is making concerted efforts in collaboration with the Corporate Affairs Commission and other stakeholders to assist public companies that are yet to register their securities to do so without much difficulty.
“In furtherance of the commitment to develop a vibrant commodities ecosystem, the SEC has commenced the implementation of measures to strengthen regulatory capacity by establishing a Commodities Division.
“In order to boost the e-dividend mandate and Direct Cash Settlement initiatives, the commission will engage the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System to facilitate identity validation and account validation in an effort to enhance market processes.”
She added that further sensitisation would be carried out by stakeholders to enlighten shareholders on the benefits of the initiative.