The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has given additional 150 days for investors in the Nigerian Stock market to get their e-dividends registration.
Equally, Capital Market Operators (CMOs) who were unable to meet the September 30, 2015 initial deadline on minimum capital requirement have been given additional 15 months grace till December 31, 2016, to do so.
Those disqualified for non-compliance, or inability to substantiate claims of compliance by the audit firms have also been allowed to come back to the market, but on condition that they show sufficient evidence of compliance within the stipulated period.
“Operators who did not meet the requirement within this period will have their operating license cancelled” the Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, said at the first Quarter Post-Capital Market Committee meeting in Lagos.
He said the Commission would bear the full cost of the registration as an incentive to encourage more people’s response. Registration would attract a charge of N100 subsequently.
Mr. Gwarzo said the public enlightenment and investor education by the Commission since last year has yielded substantial results, with over 4,000 investors embracing the e-dividend registration policy in the last three months..
The e-dividend management system was launched last year by the Commission in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) to enable investors have direct access to their dividends whenever they were paid.
“The Commission’s concern is to bring back retail investors to the nation’s capital market. In the next 10 years, we will raise the participation of the retail investors to 45 per cent, from less than two per cent presently,” Mr. Gwarzo said.
He said this was what informed the Commission’s various initiatives like e-Dividend, Direct Cash Settlement, National Investors Protection Fund (NIPF), among others, to attract retail investors to the capital market.
The Commission, he pointed out, has pursued various such initiatives in the last year to address the lingering complaints of retail investors who are the owners of the capital market.
As a country, the DG said Nigeria has less than two per cent participation of retail investors in the capital market, against nine per cent in Malaysia; South Africa, 19 per cent; USA, 43 per cent, and UK 13 per cent.
Due to foreign investors’ domination, Mr. Gwarzo said each time they move out of the market the market goes down, adding that the Commission was determined to ensure that the level of retail investors’ involvement was raised to at least 5 per cent in the next five to 10 years.
As retail investors face difficulties in accessing the market, Mr. Gwarzo said he believed the Commission’s recent initiatives would make the process more productive.
With the legislature already supporting the various initiatives, the SEC DG said a presentation has already been made to the Executive Council of the Federation, while exploring prospects of getting the government to buy into the Capital Market Master Plan in the current year.
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