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The incidence of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian Stock Exchange has dropped significantly after investors consolidated about 3.4 billion shares, the acting director-general, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mary Uduk, has said.

Ms Uduk disclosed this while giving an update on the progress in the implementation of its consolidation of multiple shareholder accounts and electronic Dividend Mandate Management System (e-DMMS).

She said both measures were introduced to check the growing menace of unclaimed dividend in the nation’s capital market.

The official spoke at the end of the second quarter Capital Market Committee (CMC) in Lagos on Friday.

She expressed satisfaction with the regularisation of multiple shareholders accounts under e-DMMS with about 2.7 million accounts so far captured.

With the help of the Multiple Subscription Committee, she said, about 3.4 billion shares have so far been effectively consolidated.

At the meeting, Ms Uduk said the committee told the committee of heads of banking operations to sustain enlightenment among investors.

“They agreed to collaborate with the commission to display banners in banking halls all over the country to sensitize the public on the regularization of multiple subscriptions of shares,” she said.

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Similarly, she said stockbrokers and registrars were also requested “to make available to the Committee on Multiple Subscription Account, on a periodic basis, the number of regularized accounts.”

Also, company secretaries of listed companies have agreed to display similar information on their website and offices.

The CMC urged the SEC to engage relevant interest groups on the e-Dividend and Multiple Subscription Accounts to transfer completed investor data among operators like brokers, registrars and the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS).

SEC is also to help discourage unclaimed dividends from building up from securities of newly-listed companies.

Also, the CMC asked SEC to develop modalities for validating shareholders’ registers to furnish registrars with incomplete information, such as missing account numbers.

Ms Uduk said the CMC’s Identity Management Committee gave updates of its meeting with National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on the implications of the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation on capital market operations.

She said the committee announced plans to develop a standardized data form to consolidate the registration and access to processes in the capital market by investors.

The CMC said SEC will invite NITDA to make a presentation on the impact of the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation on the capital market at the 2019 Q3 CMC meeting.

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The commission was also mandated to urge the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to include e-DMMS charges in its Guideline for Bank Charges.

This, she said, is because the CBN has published charges for all transactions in the stock market.

“The e-dividend charge is not part of the charges from the CBN. That is why investors are having issues with banks over charges for some transactions not listed as bank charges they do not know,” Ms Uduk said.

She said the commission decided to engage the CBN after the investors complained the charges on certain transactions in the market.

The complaint followed the decision by SEC to stop under-writing the payment of N150 per e-dividend mandate by investors.

“We believe the capital market of our dreams can only be achieved through the collaboration of all stakeholders,” Ms Uduk said.

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