By Peter Egwuatu
Mr. Henry Adekunle Rowlands, Ag. Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services, Securities & Exchange Commission, SEC, in this interview at the 2018 SEC Academy for journalists, spoke on issues bothering on the need for capital market operators and stakeholders to embrace technology, stressing that digitization has been changing the world around us.
How is digitisation changing the world and how is it going to impact our stock market?
An evaluation of today’s global trends clearly reveals that technology otherwise described as digitization has been changing the world around us. People used to pay a premium for information and content but today, companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp have eliminated this. Today, data analysis is used more as a technical analysis tool – checking historical data to identify patterns or signals and price correlation. Trades are taken based on the ‘history-repeats-itself’ strategy and most technical analysts also work on similar logic. In like manner, data analytics help the investor execute the trade on real-time basis and on multiple stocks. Thus, more than ever, data collection, validation, storage, analysis, availability and protection (i.e. security and recovery) have become fundamental to the functions and performance of establishments & businesses.
What has been the impact of technology in the Exchanges where it has been fully utilized?
It may interest us to note that, on the aggregate, turnover of mobile transactions on most Exchanges today, has increased by nearly 130 percent over the past year. These figures could easily double in the next two years as smart phone sales surge. The contribution of mobile trading to total turnover could go up to three to four percent in the next few years. As companies and content go online, and searches become more intelligent, human intervention will be limited and new technologies will take over. Thus, it can be seen clearly that technology is driving the next phase of global economic growth. The Nigeria capital market community and its stakeholders (i.e. market operators, regulators and journalists) is not insulated from the foregoing.
What is this e-dividend and how will digitization impact the shareholders?
e-dividend (otherwise known as Electronic Dividend) is a secure on-line means of paying dividends directly to the shareholders’ account instead of printing and mailing dividend warrants as currently practiced. It entails a shareholder who has a bank account (savings or current account) with any bank, to give his/her accurate account details, including Biometric Verification Number (BVN), to the company and his/her dividend would be paid directly into that account. With this regime, shareholders’ accounts are credited within 24 hours of the dividend declaration. That is the impact that digitisation brings to shareholders through prompt receipt of dividend as they are paid by the company.
How does shareholders key into this e-dividend
It entails a shareholder who has a bank account (Savings or Current Account) with any bank, to give his/her accurate account details, including Biometric Verification Number (BVN), to the company and his/her account is credited within 24 hours of the dividend declaration. Each investor is required to enroll for the e-dividend regime by completing an e-Dividend ‘Mandate Form’ and submitting same at the nearest branch of his/her bank or registrar’s office, for identity validation leveraging the BVN platform of the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System NIBSS. . Successfully BVN validated mandates are approved and passed to registrars for dividend payment.