Investors List Ways to Curb Rising Unclaimed Dividends

To find a lasting solution to the rising figure of unclaimed dividend in the nation’s capital market, investors have urged the regulators to simplify letters of administration for the families of deceased persons to facilitate access to their dividend claims.

The shareholders, who stressed the need for a review of the modalities of dividend claims of deceased person in capital market, noted that the entire process, requirements, and time lag are very discouraging, especially the aspect involving the court.

They noted that if the current stringent procedures for dividend claims of deceased person are reviewed, it would help reduce the increasing level of unclaimed dividend currently put at N103billion to the barest minimum.

According to them, a good number of beneficiaries abandon their dividend with the registrars during processing because in most cases, the cost of processing the claims is higher compared with the value of the share.They therefore suggested that the regulators should collaborate with other market stakeholders on how to make the process less stringent in order to find a lasting solution to the rising rate of unclaimed dividend.For instance, the President, Proactive Shareholders Association, Taiwo Oderinde, in a chat with The Guardian said: “It is true, the process, requirements and time lag is very discouraging. I have unpleasant experiences when helping the families of some of our deceased members.

“I believe it can be reviewed and made less cumbersome in this era of IT, BVN, among others. Some people are discouraged by this complex process, which is resulting to more unclaimed dividends.“Regulators should call a stakeholders meeting and review the present modality for a better and modern ways of resolving it such as the use of the next of kin, BVN, biometric details, among others,” he added.

The President, Constance Shareholders Association, Shehu Mallam Mikail, said the most cumbersome aspect is the one that involves court administration.“Actually, the procedure for claiming the dividend of the dead person is too stressful and cumbersome, and the next of kin might not even know how to process it.“It involves court process, and here in Nigeria, there are many delays, which may frustrate the next of kin to abandon the entire process, and this is part of the reason why there is still huge unclaimed dividend figure in the capital market.”

The President, Noble Shareholders Association, Timothy Adeshiyan, said: “Our investments laws are so foreign, our laws are too stringent on processing the deceased claims and investments, and the law is too difficult.“I lost my wife in 2002, and up till now, all her shares are still there, I cannot claim the dividend; all my efforts with the registrar and others are not yielding any result because nobody is ready to help me.

“The cost of processing this is too much compared with the value of the shares, and that is why I decided to forget it there. What can I do? I am not the only person facing such problems even among other shareholders.

“The government has to adjust the rules guiding deceased ones who have this kind of unclaimed dividend. They should put certain rules, the death certificate, the affidavit from court by the direct beneficiaries; they should be a bit liberal about this,” he suggested.

By Helen Oji

The Guardian Newspaper February 26th, 2018

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