The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lauded the contributions and achievement of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in simplifying dividend payments and reducing unclaimed dividend fraud in the country.
Mr. Dipo Fatokun, CBN’s Director, Banking& payment systems Department who gave the commendation recently in Lagos, said that just as the country is still advancing on electronic payments’, SEC has attained giant stride in deploying electronic payment to further enrich shareholders by ensuring that dividend are paid as soon as approved and not diverted by fraudulent people as obtainable in the recent past.
Fatokun said that it was based on the interest of the CBN on enhancing financial inclusion and economic vibrancy of the country that the apex regulator conceived the ideal of e-dividend, but ensures it became the baby of the SEC as the capital market regulator, “the impact has been remarkable,” he said.
He said that even if the electronic dividend which is supposed to take one day to deliver takes two to three days to get to the shareholders, it still reflects improvement in dividend payment.
“I think we still need to be commended, taking into account where we were coming from in dividend payment. The fact is that we have evolved a system which ensures that dividends are paid three days to one week, from the day the payments are approved” Fatokun said.
The CBN Director recalled that some years ago, ten to five years ago, dividend warrant fraud was a majour fraud, “where people will go to the post office and connive with workers and where post office workers will connive and instead of delivering dividend warrants to their various address, they will just gather them and open accounts in some banks, especially the lower banks and pay the divined cheques into them”.
Fakotun said that for the SEC to have facilitated immediate payment of dividend, soon after approval, reflects accomplishment and should be commended for saving investors the trauma of losing their earnings to fraudsters.
So, if dividends are now paid as soon as approved , after approval of dividend payment you get your money even if not same day, two to three days after, it is an advancement, we are getting there.
Lauding the apex market regulator, Fatokun said that with electronic dividend payment, the SEC has made it clear that by next year, there will be nothing like manual dividend. “all dividend will be paid electronically and you know , when that is done , the issue of unclaimed dividend will be nonexistent.
The e-dividend registration and payment will not only end unclaimed dividend, it will also encourage investors to buy shares”
He said that SEC is not only ensuring e-dividend payment and sensitization, but has gone step further to ensure that Nigerians upload and register for the e-dividend payments free, the cost the SEC is defraying.
The SEC he said has extended the –e-dividend registration may times so that many more people could get to their web site upload the form and fill for their e-dividend payments.
Fatokun explained that registration for e-dividend payment will not only cover payment of current dividends, but all other outstanding dividends for the past ten year, dividend that have not been paid or that had required revalidation.