The Securities and Exchange Commission (”The Commission”) has received inquiries from investors who are interested in identifying shares which they obtained/purchased through multiple subscriptions to public offers and claiming the dividends accruing to such shares.
Consequently, The Commission has summarized these inquiries as Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”)and advise the following answers to the FAQs, for the guidance of the general investing public:Q. What will happen if I come forward to claim dividends/shares which were bought using other names besides my given names?
There are no penalties for coming forward to identify your shares and claim your outstanding dividends; the Commission is eager for investors to claim their accrued dividends so as to reduce the increasing pool of unclaimed dividends and enable investors to enjoy the returns of their investments in the Nigerian capital market.
Q. How can I identify and claim the outstanding dividends accruing to me through my multiple subscriptions to public offers that occurred during the capital market boom (2000-2010)?
You will need to present all valid documents which identify you as the owner of the shares as well as any receipt or other proof of payment for the shares or any other document that identifies you as the purchaser of the said shares, and take these documents to your registrars, stockbrokers or bankers(depending on where and how your shares were purchased) to enable them to identify your shares. After the identification process has been concluded, your registrars/stockbrokers will advise you on the next steps you need to take to claim the dividends that have accrued to the identified shares.
Q. What do I need to do to claim my outstanding dividends which were bought using names that I do not remember?
Tell your registrar, stockbroker, bankers (as applicable) any likely names you or your stock broker bought the shares in and your registrar will do their best to help you identify any shares in those names, provided that you are able to provide the appropriate identification particulars or other documents that prove that you are the owner of the said shares in the discovered names.
Q. What do I need to do if I bought shares through my stockbroker/registrar/bankers or any other third party but I do not remember the combination of names used in purchasing the shares on my behalf?
You will need to present identification particulars showing at least two of the names that may have been used by your stockbroker/registrar, banker or yourself, in purchasing the shares and/or any other document you have which proves that you are the owner of the shares which were bought on your behalf using names other than your given names.
Q. How long do I have to complete the process for identifying and claiming my outstanding dividends?
Investors interested in regularizing their shares will have till December 31, 2018, to identify their shares, regularize their shareholdings and claim their outstanding dividends on the shares, as assisted by their registrars, stockbrokers, bankers, etc.
Q. What happens to my shares and dividends if I am unable to provide the requisite identification particulars on time?
Your shares and any accrued dividends will be transferred to the Nigerian Capital Market Development Fund until you are able to provide the necessary identifications which your registrars/stockbrokers/bankers will require to identify you as the actual owner of the shares.
Q. How can I prove that the shares are mine if they were not bought in any of my given names?
You will need to show your registrar/stockbroker/bankers any documents, payment receipts or any other document that can establish that you are the ownerof the shares, in spite of the fact that the shares were not bought in your name.
Q.What do I need to do if I subscribed for multiple shares in one company using my name and a combination of different names?
You will also need to go to your registrar/stockbroker/banker and try to identify the names in which you or a third party bought the shares on your behalf. You will need to have identification particulars and any other documents that establish that the shares you seek to claim are yours.
Further to the above guidance, the Commission appeals to all stakeholders (i.e. Stockbrokers, Registrars, The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Public Companies, Banks, Central Securities Clearing System, etc) to cooperate with investors by assisting them with the identification, regularisation and consolidation (where possible) of their shareholdings in various public companies and ultimately guide investors in doing all that is required of them in order to claim the proceeds of their investments. The Commission will continue to ensure improved transparency and confidence in the Nigerian capital market and assures investors that no punitive measures will be associated with the regularisation/consolidation of shares to be affected by this exercise.