Shareholders, Dealers Differ On Certificates Verification Fees

  • Sun, 19 Aug 2012 23:47:40 -0600 - Nigerian Tide
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Shareholders and dealers, have disagreed on the increasing
cost of verifying share certificates for the ongoing de-materialisation.

The disagreement among the capital market operators in Lagos
followed a circular by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stipulating
that the exercise was free.

Investigations showed that contrary to the SEC’s directives,
most stock broking firms still charge shareholders between N500 and N1,000 as
fees, depending on the location of the registrars.

SEC on March 13 issued the circular making January1, 2013,
the deadline for the de-materialisation of all share certificates.

According to the circular, all share certificates
de-materialised on or before January1, 2013, will be free while those that come
after attract an unspecified penalty.

It also said that the allotment of shares of public
offerings would be electronically transferred directly to the shareholders’
accounts in the Central Security Clearing System (CSCS).

Mr Sunny Nwosu, the National Coordinator, Independent
Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), said that shareholders were being
short changed by the dealers, in spite of their losses.

Nwosu described the charges for verification as part of the
market’s flaws affecting investor confidence.

The ISAN boss urged SEC to ensure that it implemented the
extant rules guiding the operations of the market.

He also charged SEC to emphasise inclusive capital market
regulation by partnering stockbrokers and shareholders on the development and
growth of the capital market.

Mr Boniface Okezie, the President of the Progressive
Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), described the inability of the
commission to protect the interest of local investors

as unfortunate.

Okezie said it was illogical that shareholders’ burden
increased daily through multiple taxes, in spite of the commissions earned by
the SEC, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and dealers from their portfolio
investments.

Dr David Ogogo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute
of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR), Lagos, urged stakeholders who owned
capital to convene a meeting to address the current challenges facing the
market.

Ogogo suggested that the cost of verification should be
treated in isolation but in the context of service delivery in a depressed
capital market.

Mr Emeka Madubuike, the President of the Lagos-based
Association of Stock broking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), said that the charges
were decided by the various firms.

Madubuike, who claimed the dealers were ignorant of the SEC
circular or notice on share certificate verification, noted that the commission
had failed to implement or enforce the order.

He said that the verification fee was for incidentals, such as
transportation and activities that would enable dealers’ personnel to follow up
on the investors’ instructions.

“The issue of brokers’ charges will be looked into and dealt
with so that it doesn’t act as an impediment to the de-materialisation policy,”
Madubuike said.

According to Alhaji Rasheed Yussuf, the immediate past
President of ASHON, the verification fees “are just transport expenses for the
prosecution of investors’ orders.

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