SEC urges beneficiaries to inherit deceased unclaimed dividend

To further reduce the quantum of unclaimed dividend in the Nigerian capital market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has urged beneficiaries of deceased investors to step up efforts to claim the monies.

The Commission had recently stressed the need for capital market investors to enrol in the edividend registration platform, to stem the rising figure of unclaimed dividend in the market currently put at N103 billion as at December 2017.

The e-registration platform was designed as part of efforts by the Capital market regulatory authority to eradicate the difficulties encountered by retail investors in claiming their dividend through their savings account.

The Acting Director-General, SECMs Mary Uduk, in her welcome remark during an enlightenment programme for Lagos State Probate Registry in Lagos, on Tuesday, cited the deceased as one category of investors whose investment yields have contributed to the growth of unclaimed dividends.

Also, the beneficiaries of these sums as indicated in the will or letter of administration were yet to claim the investments and accrued dividends through the share transmission process.

Uduk, who was represented by the Acting Executive Commissioner, Operations, SECIsyaku Tilde, said the purpose of the enlightenment programme is to give participants an understanding of the operations of the capital market, especially in the areas of transmission of shares and administration of estate; areas in which the Probate Registry is a key stakeholder.
She said: “The capital market is a market for raising medium to long term capital via a number of instruments. The most popular of the instruments are shared and bonds with resultant yield of dividends and interests respectively.

“However, the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market has been on the increase, as investors fail to claim the dividend from their investment in shares.”

Uduk also congratulated the Probate Registry on the recent inauguration of the e-filing system, saying it will guarantee integrity of data, provide for online tracking of applications, simplify and shorten the application process of Letter of Administration and grants.

She therefore restated SEC’s readiness to collaborate with the probate registry staff so that together the Nigerian capital market can become a desirable investment destination.
In a keynote address, Justice A.A. Oyebanji, who represented the Chief Judge of Lagos State, commended the Commission on the enlightenment programme, which she said will go a long way in aiding the staff of the Probate Registry in the discharge of their duty.
Oyebanji said the Registry processed legal instruments for the administration of the real and personal estate of a deceased, who was a resident, and who owned landed properties in Lagos State.

She disclosed that the Registry is also now fully-computerised, and all applications must be made online.
“This e-Probate system was introduced primarily to ensure a more efficient delivery of services to elements of the public. It is aimed at reducing significantly the length of time required to obtain a grant in Ikeja of the Lagos Division,” she added.