SEC spent ₦315 million on e-dividend registration for shareholders

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday disclosed that it has spent ₦315 million for free e-dividend registration for shareholders across the country.

According to the Commission, the figure arose from bearing the cost of registering 2.1 million shareholders on the e-dividend platform at ₦150 per mandate.

The apex capital market regulator also disclosed that the planned forensic audit of Oando Plc would start this month. It added that the delay was due to the time spent in tidying up the legal issues before starting the exercise.

Speaking at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, its acting Director General, Dr Abdul Zubair, said the free registration was to ensure shareholders got their dividends electronically, instead of the hassles they usually passed through to process it manually via the banks.

According to him, the free registration ended by December 31, 2017, adding that any shareholder who wants to do the e-dividend registration will bear the cost of ₦150 per mandate.

He said: “All investors that are yet to enroll, are enjoined to continue with the registration, at a marginal cost of ₦150.

“Such investors should continue to approach their banks or registrars, as usual, to seamlessly mandate their bank accounts for the collection of their dividends electronically, including unclaimed dividends, not exceeding 12 years of issue; as the N150 would not be demanded from them at the point of registration.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the ₦150 fee would not be demanded from investors at the point of registration and/or submission of completed e-dividend mandate forms.”

On the planned forensic audit of Oando, Zubair said: “It’s a sensitive issue. We’ve been a bit careful about it. We gave a directive that it should go on. No going back on it.

“Our challenge is that the matter went to court and as a responsible government entity, we had to obey the court. Now, the court has ruled that it should go on. So we’ll start in January,” he said.

The SEC boss further revealed that all registrars have been directed to stop the issuance of dividend paper warrants with effect from January 1, 2018.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all paper dividend warrants issued up till December 31, 2017 are valid and should be honoured. Banks and registrars are accordingly implored to note and adhere”, he added.

On the extension of forbearance for multiple accounts consolidation till March, Zubair said the move is to encourage more investors to consolidate multiple subscriptions into one account.