The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is extending the deadline for free e-Dividend registration in the country by 150 days. This was disclosed by Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo at the Post First Quarter Capital Market Committee Meeting Press briefing in Lagos Thursday.
The DG also said that the SEC would bear the cost of registration on behalf of any investor who registered within the 150 days grace period adding however that at the expiration of the grace period, subsequent registration of an investor would attract a fee of N100.
He noted that the e-dividend management system which 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 has enjoyed high level of compliance from the investing public.
According to him, within three months the public enlightenment programme began, the commission has achieved over 4000 per cent growth in the number of investors that registered to have access to their dividends. Gwarzo said the Commission concern was to bring back retail investors to the nation capital market.
Our prayer is that 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, he said. Gwarzo said that this is one of the reasons why the Commission has embarked on various initiatives like e-Dividend, Direct Cash Settlement, National Investors Protection Fund (NIPF) among others to attract retail investors to the Market.
He said “We have pursued a lot of initiatives in the last year and we are pursuing more this year. We are taking it from a perspective that this market has never witnessed and the perspective is to address some of the lingering complaints of the investor. We believe that the retail investors are the owners of this market so our strategy should focus on them.
As a country we have only less than two per cent participation of retail investors in our market. Malaysia has nine per cent, South Africa 19 per cent, USA 43 per cent, and UK 13 per cent. So our market is highly less being participated by the retail investors. Due to the dominance of the foreign investors, anytime they move out of the market the market goes down. Our effort is to see that in the next 5-10 years we raise the level of involvement of the retail investor to at least 5 per cent.
Gwarzo said the Commission has identified some of the challenges hindering the retail investor from accessing the market and believes tackling these challenges through the recent initiatives by the Commission would be more productive. He said that one key issue for the Commission in the current year was to get the government to buy into the Capital Market Master Plan.
We have already gotten the legislature and we intend to do a presentation to the Federal Executive Council, he said. On minimum capital requirement, the DG disclosed that the SEC has given Capital Market Operators (CMOs) that were unable to meet the September 30, 2015 initial deadline for new capital requirement additional grace to recapitalise.
Gwarzo said the operators who were disqualified for non-compliance or inability to substantiate claims of compliance by the audit firms will be allowed to come back to the market once they show evidence of compliance within the stipulated period.
“We have given a grace of about 15 months from the initial deadline of September 30, 2015 to December 31, 2016. Operators who did not meet the requirement within this period will have their operating license cancelled” Gwarzo said.