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Published On: Fri, Jan 19th, 2018

SEC makes U-turn, extends Free e-Dividend Registration

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SECBy Etuka Sunday

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday announced an extension of the period for the FREE e-Dividend registration exercise till February 28, 2018, to encourage more shareholders mandate their Bank Accounts.
This was contrary to the earlier announcement made on January 1, 2018, closing the doors to free e-Dividend registration.
SEC however, said, in reviewing the progress of the e-Dividend Registration exercise, after the December 31, 2017 deadline, it was noted that there was still a great influx of shareholders desirous of mandating their Bank Accounts for payment of dividends electronically.
“In light of the foregoing, the SEC, as part of its developmental role, has extended the period for the FREE e-Dividend registration exercise till February 28, 2018, to encourage more shareholdersmandate their Bank Accounts.
“Accordingly, Shareholders that are yet to register should continue to approach their Banks or Registrars to mandate their Bank Accounts for the collection of their Dividends electronically, including unclaimed dividends, not exceeding 12 years of issue” the SEC stated.
Recall that the SEC had announced that the e-dividend registration exercise would continue seamlessly in spite of the expiration of the initial December 31st 2017 Free registration deadline.
Acting Director General of SEC, Dr. Abdul Zubair, who made the announcement at a press briefing recently, said that all Investors that are yet to enroll, are enjoined to continue with the registration exercise.
He said “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.
Zubair also announced an extension of the Forbearance window for Multiple Accounts Consolidation to March 31, 2018.
According to him “With a view to encouraging many more investors to consolidate their multiple subscriptions into one account, the SEC wishes to announce an extension of the forbearance for Multiple Accounts till 31st March, 2018.
“Accordingly, investors that bought shares of the same company during public offers, using different names, are allowed till 31st March, 2018 to continue to approach their Stockbrokers or Registrars, to regularize their shareholdings, in line with SEC Rules on customer identification. Thereafter, all shares NOT regularized shall be transferred, on trust, to the Capital Market Development Fund”.
The Acting DG disclosed further that in line with approved rules of the Commission; all Registrars have been directed to stop the issuance of dividend paper warrants with effect from January 1, 2018.
He noted that 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 please note and adhere.
In his comments, Director External Relations of the SEC. Mr. Henry Rowlands disclosed that the SEC has consulted with other stakeholders to ensure that the process is seamless; adding that investors should entertain no fear of being charged until their registration is approved.
He however explained that, “Where the investor’s account is not funded, the parties have agreed that such an enrolment request will be disapproved because the account is not funded and the investor will be alerted accordingly”

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