The finance act of 2020 that was recently signed into law has greatly brought to light the number of unclaimed dividends laying fallow. Furthermore, it allows the federal government to borrow from the pool of unclaimed dividends as long as it has been more than six years from the day of declaration. In plain words, the government can borrow your money (if among), after it was unclaimed for six years. However, the good news is that you can simply reclaim any unclaimed dividends of yours. Read on to find out how.
What are unclaimed dividends?
An unclaimed dividend is a dividend that has to be paid by the company, but the shareholder has not yet taken or claimed. In a way, an unclaimed dividend is a liability for the company because it is just like a pending debt. Therefore, whenever the shareholder requests for it, the company has to pay. Also, the company is usually obligated to pay unclaimed dividends within 12 months. However, it happens that some shareholders might not claim it for much longer than that. In the past, you could do this and let it lay for as long as you want, then claim when ready, but with the new act, things are really going to change.
How do I find unclaimed dividends?
The steps to take to find your unclaimed dividend is pretty easy. However, you should note that such dividends have to be less than six years old in the pool. Follow the steps below:
Go through the list of shares related to your name, as released by the SEC. You can simply find this by following this link http://sec.gov.ng/non-mandated/. Also, imputing your name and searching would display all the companies you have shares in and the registrars in charge. The registrar is simply the name of the company in charge of keeping the details of your shares.
Note your exact shares and the name of each registrar specifically handling each of them. This is because it’s through the registrar that you would file an unclaimed dividend request.
The next step is to download and fill your specific registrars form for your assigned shares. Normally, the form is available for download on the website, just beside the company’s name.
After filling the form, proceed to submit it to the registrar. Also, you should do this at any of their authorized outlets, and you may need your bank acknowledgement too. Many companies require that you provide a bankers’ confirmation to initiate unclaimed e-dividends. With this, the company can directly credit your designated bank account with the adequate dividend.
If you have unclaimed dividends among the N200 billion (estimated) in the pool, then you should apply for a claim right away. This is because as soon as they fully implement this act, no shareholder will be able to make claims to dividends of at least six years. Instead, they would move the funds to unclaimed trust funds, which the federal government of Nigeria would borrow in the long run.