RETAIL INVESTMENT | Staff Reporter, Singapore

SGX hunting for 89,000 investors with $68.3m in unclaimed shares, dividends

You could be richer than you think.

According to a release, Singapore Exchange (SGX) wants to locate 89,000 investors who own $68.3 million in unclaimed shares and dividends.

These unclaimed assets comprise $14.6 million of SingTel shares and dividends belonging to investors without Central Depository (CDP) accounts. The 15,000 individuals who own these shares bought them at $2.00 each in the company’s 1993 IPO. The shares have returned more than twice that amount since.

Also, the unclaimed assets account for $53.7 million of dividends belonging to investors who cannot be contacted. Each year, thousands of shareholders do not cash their dividend cheques.

Unclaimed dividends are returned to the relevant listed companies after six years. Currently, 74,000 investors have yet to claim $53.7 million in dividends which SGX is safe-keeping.

“This initiative highlights the benefits Singaporeans enjoy when they invest in shares over the long term. We hope to locate the rightful owners of these assets through this exercise while making Singaporeans more aware of the role share investing can play in their financial planning for their retirement and other needs,” said Chew Sutat, Executive Vice President at SGX.

“Many listed companies pay sizeable dividends. In the past 12 months, the 30 companies making up the Straits Times Index paid $15.5 billion in dividends, equivalent to a 3% yield.

We encourage investors to take advantage of SGX’s direct crediting service which automatically deposits their dividends into their bank accounts,” said Lynn Gaspar, Head of Retail Investors at SGX.

“It is always encouraging to hear real-life examples of investors who invested in shares for the long term and enjoyed healthy returns. There are two lessons here for all of us; first, share investing is a crucial part of financial planning and second, investors should monitor their company’s corporate actions and developments,” said David Gerald, President and CEO of the Securities Investors Association (Singapore).

To encourage investors to come forward during this initiative, SGX is waiving the administrative fee for the re-issuance of dividend cheques and dividend crediting until 26 January 2014.

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