The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is proposing to apply new rules for unclaimed dividends. According to the proposed rules, dividends which remain unclaimed after the 12-year threshold will be transferred into the Nigerian Capital Market Development Fund.
The SEC said “Pursuant to the provisions of Section 313(1)(n) of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) 2007, the Commission hereby proposes that: Companies and Registrars in custody of dividends which remain unclaimed by shareholders 12 years after the date of declaration or subsequently attain the 12 years threshold shall upon the coming into effect of this Rule transfer such monies into the Nigerian Capital Market Development Fund (NCMDF).
More on the proposed rule stated that “All companies and registrars shall not later than 30 days after the end of every calendar year forward to the Commission a report of unclaimed dividends in their custody, which shall specify compliance with Sub Rule (1) of this Rule. The SEC also proposed that “Companies shall disclose details of compliance with this Rule in their annual reports.”
The SEC thus invited all comments and input on the matter, be forwarded to the Secretariat, Rules Committee of the Commission, via, email@example.com or through the DG, SEC, not later than two (2) weeks from the date of publication.
The level of Nigeria’s unclaimed dividend has risen by over 600 percent in the last 15 years. In 1999, it was about N2 billion, rose steadily to N8 billion in 2008, N41billion in 2011, N60 billion in 2013, and N80 billion at the end of 2014. At the end of September 2015, the unclaimed dividend stood at N90 billion.