By Chioma Obinagwam
Determined to reduce the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian Capital Market and encourage beneficiaries of deceased investors to step up efforts to claim such dividends the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has further reduced the time, processes and costs of the transmission of shares from a deceased to the beneficiary.
This effort will ensure seamless transmission and claim of a deceased’s shares by heirs and administrators.
In an amended draft on the operating framework for transmission of shares, SEC has reduced the timeline for the transmission of deceased’s shares from three weeks to one week. Going by that, registrar shall ensure that shares of a deceased are transmitted within a week of receiving the request from the administrators or executors.
Confiance News gathered that the registrar is also required to transmit the Letter of Administration to the Probate Registry within 24 hours of receipt of same for verification.
The administrators/executors are however required to provide letter of Introduction introducing themselves as the legal representatives of the Estate. The letter should also indicate the names, addresses, signatures and BVNs of the individual Administrators/Executors.
Also required are original Death Certificate from the National Population Commission (NPC) for sighting, original probate letter or Letter of Administration for sighting or the Certified True Copy (CTC) from a Notary Public. Others are copy of newspaper advert placed by the Court or Gazette, any evidence of ownership of the investment i.e. CSCS statement(s) of the deceased, original share certificates, dividend stub or dividend warrants or bank statement(s) showing receipt of dividend(s) into the account(s) of the deceased.
“Where the Administrator/Executor cannot provide these requirements, the Registrar may require confirmation through insurance, indemnity or interview” the SEC stated.
“the fees chargeable for transmission of shares by registrars is being limited to one per cent of the total value and additional five per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) for shares of N5 million and below and 0.5 per cent of the value and five per cent VAT on shares above N5 million with a maximum chargeable amount of N200,000, excluding VAT. Also, fees chargeable for confirmation of probate or letter of administration shall not exceed N12,000.
Registrars are also disallowed from charging fee on dematerialisation of share certificate and mandating of accounts for electronic dividend. However, change of address, name or mandate shall not attract more than N100 per request while update of update of signature capture and scanning shall not be more than N200 per signature.
The SEC further states that any registrar that violates the provisions of the rules shall be liable to a penalty of not less than N1 million and an additional sum of N20,000 for every day the violation persists.
The new rules also seek to standardise the turnaround time for processing all requests for replacement and update from the date of submission of all relevant documentations. The turnaround time for dematerialisation is three working days, update of signature capture and scanning shall take place in 24 hours while change of address, name and mandate shall be done within two working days.
According to SEC, the amended draft rules would ensure standardisation and efficiency in the transmission process, thereby minimising conflict, protecting investors and maintaining the integrity of the market.
Recall that the Acting Dg of the SEC, Ms Mary Uduk had recently urged beneficiaries of deceased investors to step up efforts to claim such dividends
Uduk stated that one category of investors whose investment yields had contributed to the growth of unclaimed dividends in the capital market were deceased investors.
According to her, beneficiaries of deceased investors as indicated in the Will or Letter of Administration are yet to claim the investments and accrued dividends through the share transmission process.
“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 including bonds with resultant yields of dividends and interests.
“However, the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market has been on the increase as investors fail to claim the dividends from their investment in shares,’’ she said.