SEC bemoans high level of unclaimed dividends in capital market

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Uba Group

Uba Group

BY MOYINOLUWA BAMIDELE-LUCAS

The Securities and Exchange Commission is set to collaborate with the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in a joint bid to further deepen the operations of the Nigerian capital market through technology and other innovations.

Director-General of the SEC, Lamido Yuguda, stated this when the Vice-Chancellor of ABU, Kabiru Bala, led other top management of the University to the Commission at the weekend.

Yuguda said that the Commission is currently carrying out a number of initiatives which he said have been specially designed to appeal to the younger generation and so attract them to the capital market.

According to the Director General “Today, people like things they can do on their phones/tablets and that is why we are embracing technology in the capital market. Fintechs are attracting young people to do investments with their phones meanwhile the market still relies on paper documentation.

This is really something of the past as we are committed to ensuring that our markets are technologically driven. Technology is the way to go and it is the way to really engage people. Once the youths can buy into an idea, it goes far and wide”.

Yuguda bemoaned the high level of unclaimed dividends in the capital market and enjoined investors to mandate their accounts for e-dividend in a bid to reduce the quantum.

He said, “So many investors have shares in the capital market and have abandoned them. People have not come forward to claim their dividends and this has led to huge unclaimed dividends and has increased the unclaimed dividends profile.

“So many investors have shares in the capital market and have abandoned them. People have not come forward to claim their dividends and this has led to huge unclaimed dividends and has increased the unclaimed dividends profile”

“The Commission has over time been educating and enlightening the public on how they can get their dividends. Now they do not need to wait for the broker to send the dividend warrants through the registrars. The dividends can actually come to them directly into their bank accounts through e-dividend payments. We will arrange investors’ clinics with ABU to talk about issues in the capital market and encourage the staff and students to key in. ABU is reputed for giving the very best in tertiary education and some of us are proud graduates of the university.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of ABU, Kabiru Bala, described the visit as part of the advancement of the university to keep in contact with their alumni as is done in most global universities.

Bala implored alumni to collaborate with their universities and institutions to assist such institutions where necessary adding that many universities are currently grappling with issues of funding.

“We know many institutions are grappling with issues of funding and these alumni can come in to assist. This will drastically reduce the incidences of industrial action by the staff,” he stated.

The Vice Chancellor also requested for collaboration with the SEC in a way that would enable undergraduates of the institution to intern with the Commission for a specified period in a bid to understand in detail the workings of the capital market adding that, this will increase their employability chances.

“We are putting a lot of premium on these types of relationships to ensure that students can conduct research that would also be useful to the capital market. We are working towards reviving our endowment fund in a bid to bring sustainable development to the university and enhance revenue generation,” he added.

Yuguda had said recently that there is a need for capital market operators to prioritise the interest of investors.

The SEC boss said this during a meeting with the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers in Abuja.

He said the Commission is on the quest to improve professionalism, therefore, urged operators to have good ethical conduct and maintain professionalism in the discharge of their duties.

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He added that this would make the capital market more transparent and attract investors, thereby soliciting the support of the CIS.

“CIS has supported the SEC in our various initiatives in the past, and we hope that this support will continue with the various initiatives we plan to roll out this year. We, therefore, urge the CIS to encourage its members to uphold the code of ethics of the profession and as contained in the rules and regulations of the commission,” Yuguda said.

The Director-General said the regulator and the self-regulatory organisations must work together, adding that it would go a long way to eliminate poor market conduct.

He, however, urged the operators to prioritise the interest of investors over their own and be seen to demonstrate the highest level of integrity and transparency in conducting their activities.

“It is very important for us to work harmoniously. We want a harmonious capital market where the regulators and the self-regulatory organisations complement each other,” Yuguda said.

“We want a harmonious capital market where the forces compliment and rein-enforce each other and not fight. With all the initiatives we are bringing out in place, we are all heading towards a more robust and vibrant market.”

“Only recently, in a bid to curb poor market conduct, the SEC had resolved to intensify monitoring and surveillance of the market and vowed to apply stiff sanctions to any operator who engages in unethical conduct.

“Poor conduct dissuades investors from our market and therefore counters our collective objective of broadening and deepening the market.

“We also expect that the institute will continue to make it mandatory for its members to undertake annual professional development programmes that address emerging issues. I believe that this will go a long way in ensuring that the practitioners in the market are highly skilled and are equipped to make a real impact towards growing the market,” he said.

On his part, Olatunde Amolegbe, president of the CIS, said the institute is willing to work with the SEC to ensure professionalism in the capital market, improve ethical standards and weed out bad eggs in the market.

He commended the effort of the SEC and expressed the commitment of CIS to working with the regulator to develop the market.