Thukten Zangpo 

The Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan Limited (RSEBL) has found 2,263 shareholders have not updated their accounts with unclaimed dividends in the respective listed companies accumulated to date.

Of the total, 314 shareholders have not updated their account amounting to an unclaimed dividend and asset liquidation amount of Nu 6.03 million from four delisted companies.

The four delisted companies are Bhutan Diary Agro Products Ltd, Druk Petroleum Corporation Limited, Jigme Mining Corporation Limited, and SD Eastern Corporation Limited.

An official from RSEBL said that most of the unclaimed accumulated dividends are from the shares bought during initial public offerings (IPO).  An IPO refers to the process of offering shares of companies to the public in new stock issuance.

He said that shareholders still bear the old five-digit identity card numbers and they have not updated their bank account numbers, or the bank accounts are inactive.

The bank accounts become inactive if the accounts have no money and there is no transaction in the account for six months.

“It is ignorance from the investors’ side not to update the account number. When the company declares a dividend, the stock exchange ensures that the company announces in the newspaper, social media platforms, and websites,” the official said.

However, he said the stock exchange is not able to call each and every shareholder to update the account with most of the phone numbers not being updated.

When people come to enquire about their shareholding and dividends, the exchange facilitates it and updates the information on the central depository.

A central depository is similar to that of a bank, except that instead of cash, it deals with the stock.

“If the accounts are updated, the company would directly deposit the dividends in the account number,” the official said, adding that unclaimed dividends for companies are liabilities, unnecessarily maintained in the book of accounts.

For the delisted companies, the unclaimed dividends and asset liquidation amount are maintained in the stock exchange’s escrow account.

If the account holder of shares has died, the shares account is transferred to the spouse or children.

“If new laws, policies or regulations come in place stating that the unclaimed dividends have to be handed over to the government, shareholders will not be able to claim the dividend,” the official said.