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Shareholders protest over SEC's Unclaimed Dividends Trust Fund

09 January 2014, 21:11

Lagos - Some shareholder groups on Thursday urged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to drop its plans to establish an Unclaimed Dividend Trust Fund (UDTF).

The shareholders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos that the proposal was unacceptable and unknown in capital market regulation.

NAN reports that the Unclaimed Dividends Committee constituted by SEC recently put the stock of the unclaimed dividends at N45 billion as at June 30, 2013.

 Gbadebo Olatokunbo, a former Publicity Secretary of Nigeria of Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSSA), said that the entire stock of unclaimed dividends belonged to shareholders and not the Federal Government nor its agency.

Olatokunbo said that SEC should work towards reducing the stock of unclaimed dividends in the capital market.

He said that SEC should look at the problems of the unclaimed dividends critically and not on ways to disburse the funds.

“SEC should come out with reforms aimed at addressing the problems of the unclaimed dividends and stop looking at how to spend the money,” Olatokunbo said.

 Boniface Okezie, President, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), also said that the entire unclaimed dividends belonged to shareholders.

Okezie said that until the 12-year-old law was reviewed, unclaimed dividends funds still “remains a no go area”.

PSAN said that the unclaimed dividends belonged to the shareholders and must remain with the companies until the amendment of the law.

He said that SEC must enact laws that would ensure market vibrancy and not pronouncement that would threaten investors' confidence.

Okezie said also that market regulators must avoid over regulation, stressing that over regulation was killing the market.

He urged SEC to concentrate more on increasing retail investors’ participation to avoid of the experience of 2008.



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