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2024-02-02 4:44 AM

JSE’s R4.5 Billion Unclaimed Dividends Initiative: Reuniting Shareholders

  • JSE Initiative: Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is launching a nationwide initiative to reunite South Africans with R4.5 billion in unclaimed dividends, addressing the broader issue of R88.56 billion in unclaimed assets in the financial sector.
  • Shareholder Education Drive: The initiative begins with a comprehensive education campaign, informing the public on how dividends work, the causes of unclaimed dividends, methods to verify entitlements, and the importance of updating shareholder information.
  • JIS Implementation: JSE Investor Services (JIS), a subsidiary, will execute the initiative's second phase, utilizing tracing services, contact center capabilities, and online processing through ShareHub to efficiently process and pay dividends to legitimate claimants.
By Miriam Matoma

In response to the Financial Sector Conduct Authority’s (FSCA) 2022 discussion paper highlighting the significant issue of unclaimed financial assets, including dividends, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is gearing up to launch a comprehensive initiative aimed at reuniting South Africans with their unclaimed dividends totaling around R4.5 billion. The initiative is part of a broader effort to address the estimated R88.56 billion worth of unclaimed assets across the South African financial sector.

The JSE, in collaboration with various stakeholders and larger issuers committed to the cause, is set to roll out an extensive nationwide program to match rightful claimants with their unclaimed entitlements. The move follows the acknowledgment of the impact that returning these funds could have on the lives of South African shareholders.

Vuyo Lee, the Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the JSE, emphasized the profound economic impact, stating, “As the JSE, we firmly believe that returning R4.5 billion worth of unclaimed dividends to South African owners of shares will make a profound economic impact on their lives.”

The initiative’s first phase will consist of a robust shareholder education campaign, disseminating information on the workings of dividends, the various scenarios leading to unclaimed dividends, methods for individuals to verify their entitlements, and the importance of updating shareholder information.

JSE Investor Services (JIS), a subsidiary of the JSE, is poised to take on the role of the implementation agent for processing and payment of dividends. Leveraging its expertise and resources, JIS aims to efficiently execute the initiative’s second phase. Over the past five years, JIS has successfully identified and paid R408 million to thousands of investors, including a significant portion of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) shareholders, with claims dating back more than 15 years.

JIS will employ advanced tracing services, including contact center capabilities, data privacy protocols, digital shareholder verification, and online claims processing through ShareHub, to facilitate a seamless experience for legitimate claimants.

Director Vuyo Lee expressed confidence in JIS, stating, “JIS possesses the expertise, resources and track record to execute the second phase of this JSE initiative effectively.”

Crucial to the initiative’s success is the involvement and support of the broader business community and financial markets. The JSE has actively engaged with larger issuers committed to participating in the initiative and contributing to its nationwide implementation. These stakeholders collectively recognize the initiative’s importance in fostering shared prosperity for all.

As the initiative progresses, the JSE will communicate with the public, outlining the necessary steps to verify outstanding dividends and providing information on the processes to follow. The collaboration between the JSE, JIS, and committed issuers underscores the significance of reclaiming unclaimed dividends and aims to bring about positive economic impacts for South African shareholders.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: miriam@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @MatomaMiriam