Sebi dividend distribution proposal to help small investors

Sebi dividend distribution proposal to help small investors

Ravi Chopra holds securities of several companies, but doesn’t keep a track of the cash benefits, including dividends, accruing from his investments. He also isn’t certain if all the dividends and interests earned by him get credited to his bank account. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi)'s proposal to distribute cash benefits through depositories, such as Central Depository Services (CDSL) and National Securities Depository (NSDL), could make the stock market journey a little simpler for investors like Chopra.

Sebi has proposed a model where benefits, including dividend, interest and redemption proceeds, may be distributed for securities held in demat form. Currently, the process is handled by issuer companies either directly or through registrars.

Sebi’s proposal will require issuers to transfer the total amount due to investors to a depository, which will then distribute these to beneficial owners. Depositories, which send investors a statement of their holdings, will be able to provide a consolidated view of all cash benefits.

There is no central system to monitor all cash benefits at present and the proposal could hard to implement under the existing framework.

The proposal, if it goes through, will result in the demat account statement becoming a single record of all stock market-related activities.

The model has other advantages too. Investors will also receive timely alerts on cash credited into their accounts.

The company paying dividends says it is "payable to shareholders of record as of" a certain date but investors often mistakenly assume that they would receive a dividend record date alert, a prescribed date by which they need to purchase a stock in order to receive the dividend. To resolve this, the proposal suggests an immediate alerts provision through which investors will receive SMS or email alerts.

These apart, it will shorten investor turnaround time and help in achieving fixed pay date of dividend.

Business Standard New Delhi, 20th April 2016