Accessing your unclaimed dividend and merger of your multiple share accounts into one now easy- Olugbemi

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Bayo Olugbemi is a highly experienced investment banker, leader and achiever, who rose from a humble beginning to become a successful player in Nigeria’s financial services sector. With the philosophy of diligence, perseverance and resilience, Bayo stands tall among his peers in investment banking and a force to reckon with in the Nigerian Capital Market.

Currently the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Registrars & Investors Services Limited, he effectively combines professional performances with spiritual calling. Bayo is the Provincial Pastor, Lagos Province 21 of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), My Father’s House, Magodo, Lagos with Mission Fields in The Pacific Island Republic of Vanuatu Near Australia.

He holds a B.sc in Accounting from the University of Lagos, Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Lagos State University and a Master of Science Degree (Msc) in Corporate Governance from Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. An Alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School, Stanford Business School, Wharton Business School, INSEAD France, IMD Lausene Switzerland and Lagos Business School, Bayo is privileged to have attended several Strategic, Management and Leadership training programs both locally and overseas.

He is presently the President/Chairman of Governing Council of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR), First Vice President of The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and Treasurer of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the oldest Chamber movement in Nigeria.

Mr Olugbemi here expatiates on issues of unclaimed dividends, amnesty to those who own shares in different unrelated names and investment in stocks generally.

On easiest steps to claim outstanding dividends and EDMSS:

Earlier than now, we had more or less done parallel run by both issuing dividend warrants and also do electronic payment. While we were doing these, we kept propagating the gospel of electronic dividend payment (EDMSS) – that is direct payment of dividend into bank accounts of shareholders. SEC however went a step further this year by stopping the issuance of hard copy warrants or cheques in the capital market which means that every shareholder should now provide their bank account details to their registrars to which their dividend will now be paid electronically.

Notably, before the ban of hard copy warrants, the Securities and Exchange Commission did enough widespread public announcement and promo. The purpose was to direct every shareholders on the need to visit the registrars of companies where they have investment or their own bank to complete EDMSS forms as well as e- dividend mandate form free of charge. Truth is that for the processing of the forms, SEC was actually paying the bills at N250 per form. But that has stopped but investors still have the window opened.

 

Claiming your dividend:

The process is simple. Go to the registrar’s head office or any of their representative offices outside Lagos. For instance, First Registrars has offices in Abuja, Ibadan, Enugu, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna though our head office is in Lagos. Other registrars also have representative offices in other states. But much more than that, you can walk into any bank where you have an account and get registrars’ Electronic Dividend Mandate Form. Your bank officials will give you forms for each of the registrars of the companies where you have shares. Fill the forms completely and sign. Then give it back to your bank. If you have done this, you don’t have to go to the registrars’ office any more. All the bank would need to do subsequently is to upload the information on the form you might have filled into our common platform with the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NISS) -EDMSS platform. Once that is done, information about you will get to the various registrars in no time.

If you are a shareholder in twenty companies in first registrars for example, you don’t have to fill 20 forms, all you need do is complete just only one form but in that one form, you will need to tick the boxes as required to indicate the companies where you have shares. The system is so good such that even if you don’t tick, we can do global search. If you have shares in twenty companies for example, we will immediately after verifying all that we need to, including the bank account details, we will automatically pay your entire outstanding dividend. In other words, even if you have not claimed your dividends for many years, we would immediately pay so long as the dividend is not statute barred. We will also pay subsequent ones.

In summary, the best thing you can do if your dividends are outstanding and for ease of subsequent payment, just complete the Electronic Dividend Mandate Form

 

On amnesty for those who bought shares in multiple names during past primary market activities:

 If you bought shares in the name of say, Abayomi Obabolujo, Yomi Obabolujo and Obabolujo Abayomi JNR, those are still similar. If we can access their signatures, it will be easy to merge them. However, for those who used as many as twenty or thirty unrelated names or those who used the names of their children that are not on the birth certificates of those children, or those who bought shares in the names of their house helps all because they wanted full allotments, there is now solution.

Over the years, I was one of the people that led the issue of amnesty and eventually, the immediate past Director General of SEC agreed with us to set up a committee to look into the issue and we came out with a lot of guidelines with which those certificates or those accounts could be merged into one without having to go through transfers by opening CSCS account because that is rather cumbersome. Some of the guidelines however looked clumsy such that some people actually ran away because they thought this will be an avenue to arrest and prosecute them. But thank God, the current Acting Director General has asked us to review the guidelines, so some of those draconian set of rules are now being relaxed. Now, provided you can show us evidences that you actually paid for those stocks, of course the registrars and your stock brokers have a part to play, when you present the certificates, we will check the trail, if truly they were bought with one cheque or the payments made through an account and you can show your evidence and of course, with some documentary evidences, we will merge them. In other words, under the Acting DG now, the amnesty is still open and people can actually take advantage of this.

 

To be sincere, a lot of people are coming up now to merge their accounts. It is very simple, just get your documentation, bring evidences, either you go through your stock brokers or come directly to the registrars. We check through our records, if our records show that you actually paid for those shares, we would merge them for you.

 

Unique products from First Registrars and Investors Services Ltd:

We have just launched an app. For now, this is free. The app will allow you, after registering to do a lot of things yourself from anywhere in the world. It will enable you to easily access your account to see your balances if there are outstanding dividends. It will also prompt and direct you on how you can fill the form for e-dividend. You can also change your address online. As a shareholder, after you must have been given our code, if you key into the app, you will be able to do almost everything concerning your stock holdings with different companies where you are a shareholder under us. You can download the app via play store on any android phone and even ios on apple phones. You can also go to our website www.firstregistrarsnigeria.com.

 

Of course, we have what is called the e- access or m- access. We just launched a short code that you can apply. With that, you can access your account easily.

 

What to do in a depressed stock market:

It is not unexpected for the market to be down, particularly in our political and economic environment in Africa and in Nigeria in particular. When it’s election period, some investors, especially foreign portfolio investors tend to move away; when they move away of course the market will be down. It’s not as if companies are not bringing good returns, but the political environment particularly in Nigeria is affecting the market.

 

2019 is election year, and unfortunately electioneering has started much earlier than expected with all these cross- carpeting, defection here and there. The polity has been heated so much, so we don’t expect anything less than that for now. However, for those of us who believe in the market, we are still investing.

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