The Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria (ACMAN) has listed solutions for effective management of the Unclaimed Dividends Trust Fund being prescribed in the Finance Bill 2020.
ACMAN President, Prof. Uche Uwaleke, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos that the management of unclaimed dividends fund should be independent of the government in line with global best practice.
NAN reports that Section 39 of the Finance Bill 202O prescribes the establishment of the Unclaimed Dividends Trust Fund.
The bill provides that unclaimed dividends of public quoted companies that remain unclaimed for three years after declaration shall be transferred immediately to the trust fund either by the company or its registrar.
It adds that unclaimed dividends of 12 years and above would be converted into revenue for the government and transferred from the Trust Fund to the federation account.
According to the bill, the fund will be operated by the Accountant General of the Federal, the Debt Management Office and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Uwaleke told NAN that the management of the fund should be independent of the government and by experts in unclaimed assets matters.
“The organisation managing such funds should have only custodial possession of the funds in perpetuity until the rightful owners are identified.
“There should be conscious efforts at uniting owners with their lost/forgotten funds,” he said.
Uwaleke said that shareholders should be represented in the agency managing the fund.
“The provision in this bill is seen to be taking a step in line with global practice with the establishment of the Unclaimed Dividends Trust Fund (UDTF) to manage unclaimed dividends.
“It is pertinent to note that in other countries such as the UK, Kenya and so on, the agencies authorised to manage the funds only have custodial possession of the assets in perpetuity until their rightful owners are identified.
“When that happens, the assets are returned to the owners and in some instances with interest,” he said.
Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle