FROM PETER DICKS in Portharcourt
Nigerians have again been advised to desist from investing their money in investments that offer unreasonable levels of returns at little risk to investors.
Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Ms. Mary Uduk stated this during a Town Hall meeting on Current Initiatives by the SEC Nigeria to enhance investor value held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Wednesday.
Uduk, while enjoining investors to be wary of any investment that is proposing return levels that are unreasonably high, also added that they should always cross check that such fund managers and the products they are offering are registered with the SEC.
The Ag. DG told the audience that the specific objective of the meeting is to keep Nigerians abreast of the initiatives that SEC is currently undertaking in order to make the capital market more user friendly such that people can participate in it with greater ease, comfort and convenience.
“There is the added and all-important purpose of ensuring that the gains of your participation, be these dividends, proceeds from share sales/transfers, etc. accrue to you seamlessly, without sweat and in the shortest time possible.
The purpose is also to ensure that you do not fall victim to the antics of fraudsters who purport to be able to double any amount of money you make available to them as investment value.
“These fraudsters or promoters of Ponzi Schemes are the false prophets of the investment environment, they are the ill wind that blows no good and at whose sight you must flee; they are to be avoided.
This is one message you must take home to family, friends, relations and acquaintances in order to save them from the agony of loss of their hard–earned money” she stated.
Uduk also used the occasion to inform investors that SEC is currently leading the entire capital market industry in an effort to migrate all shareholders to an e –Dividend regime.
The essence of the e-Dividend Mandate Management System she said, is to eradicate or reduce to the barest minimum the incidence of unclaimed dividend.
“Unclaimed dividend is an undesirable feature of the Nigerian capital market which denies investors/shareholders the gains of participating in the capital market. It denies the economy access to the huge amount of money, which should have accrued to shareholders and would have gone into circulation to oil the wheel of the economy.
“It is a consequence of the bottlenecks which are inherent in the erstwhile paper dividend warrant regime such as postal system inefficiency, change in investors’ addresses, poor fidelity and human fallibility in dividend payment processes, amongst others.
Uduk stated that the e-Dividend regime bypasses these limitations by ensuring that dividends which do not exceed 12 years of issue are credited directly to an investors account after declaration by the paying company and within a stipulated payment period through simple interbank transfer.
Recall that the e-Dividend registration exercise started on November 23, 2016. Each successful registration cost N150, however, between that time and March 31, 2018, the Commission underwrote the registration cost for all investors that mandated.
Other initiatives by the SEC according to Uduk include, Direct Cash Settlement, dematerialisation, National Investor Protection Fund, Recapitalisation of capital market operators, corporate governance scorecard, new rules for products innovation, development of commodity exchange, Collective Investment Schemes among others.
In his remarks, Head of Port Harcourt Zonal office of SEC, Mr. Obi Adindu said the SEC is interested in making the capital market stronger and better and a means of creating wealth for Nigerians.
“We are here to get your views on our initiatives and policies so that we can fine tune them where necessary in a bid to ensure that your investments are well protected in the capital market” Adindu added.