By Etuka Sunday
Nigerians have again been advised to desist from investing their money in various investment schemes that are not registered to carry out fund management functions.
This was stated weekend by Ag. Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Mary Uduk in the face of various unregistered schemes luring unsuspecting Nigerians with unreasonable returns.
Uduk while enjoining investors to be wary of any investment that is proposing return levels that are unreasonably high, also advised investors to always cross check that such fund managers and the products they are offering are registered with the SEC.
According to her, the capital market is properly positioned to attract Nigerians and provide benefits to Nigerians who invest therein.
She said the SEC has been doing a lot in terms of investor education to assist people understand whatever issues they have around the capital market.
“But besides that, there are new products coming up every day in the Nigerian capital market. We have a lot of ethical funds, one of the safest areas to invest in is in Mutual Funds, Collective Investments Schemes and we encourage Nigerians to be part of these and others”.
The Ag. DG said the SEC is presently undertaking various initiatives to make the capital market more user-friendly such that people can participate in it with greater ease, comfort and convenience.
She said “There is the added and all-important purpose of ensuring that the gains of your participation, be these dividends, proceeds from share sales/transfers, etc. accrue to you seamlessly, without sweat and in the shortest time possible.
“The purpose is also to ensure that you do not fall victim to the antics of fraudsters who purport to be able to double any amount of money you make available to them as investment value.
“These fraudsters or promoters of Ponzi Schemes are the false prophets of the investment environment, they are the ill wind that blows no good and at whose sight you must flee; they are to be avoided. This is one message you must keep spreading to family, friends, relations and acquaintances in order to save them from the agony of loss of their hard–earned money”.
Uduk therefore advised the general public to distance themselves from such schemes, adding, “Please note that anyone that subscribes to these illegal activities does so at their own risk.”
She also informed investors that the SEC is currently leading the entire capital market industry in an effort to migrate all shareholders to an e –Dividend regime.
The essence of the e-Dividend Mandate Management System she said, is to eradicate or reduce to the barest minimum the incidence of unclaimed dividend.
“Unclaimed dividend is an undesirable feature of the Nigerian capital market which denies investors/shareholders the gains of participating in the capital market. It denies the economy access to the huge amount of money which should have accrued to shareholders and would have gone into circulation to oil the wheel of the economy.
“It is a consequence of the bottlenecks which are inherent in the erstwhile paper dividend warrant regime such as postal system inefficiency, change in investors’ addresses, poor fidelity and human fallibility in dividend payment processes, amongst others.
Uduk stated that the e-Dividend regime bypasses these limitations by ensuring that dividends which do not exceed 12 years of issue are credited directly to an investors account after declaration by the paying company and within a stipulated payment period through simple interbank transfer.
Recall that the e-Dividend registration exercise started on November 23, 2016.
Other initiatives by the SEC to ensure that Investors get the benefit from investing in the market, according to Uduk include, Multiple Subscription Regularisation, Direct Cash Settlement, dematerialisation, National Investor Protection Fund, Recapitalisation of capital market operators, corporate governance scorecard, new rules for products innovation, development of commodity exchange, Collective Investment Schemes among others.