Reader Tomi writes, “My mum wishes to sell shares of her Nigerian stock, but her broker seems to have disappeared. How can she go about getting her shares sold?”
Ugh. What a terrible feeling. Your stockbroker, the guys who are supposed to guide you through the stock investing process are no longer to be found.
Unfortunately, Tomi’s mum isn’t the only Nigeria investor to face this problem. In the wake of Nigeria’s financial crisis, the Nigerian Stock Exchange made an attempt to restore investor confidence by suspending 61 brokerage firms that failed to meet minimum capitalization requirements. This resulted in lots of confusion for these brokers’ customers, leaving them with questions much like Tomi’s.
But don’t despair, Tomi. Your mum’s shares most likely haven’t disappeared, and as I’ve learned from the Nigerian brokers quoted below, there are a number of people who can assist you with tracking them down.
Find Your Share Certificate or CSCS Statement
“Thankfully, there are ways around a disappeared broker,” says Abdulmuttalib Garba of Dunn Loren Merrifield.
The first thing to do is to find out whether your mum has a share certificate. Until relatively recently, publicly-traded Nigerian companies issued certificates to investors whenever they purchased their shares. This certificate indicated the investor’s name and the number of shares purchased.
If Tomi’s mother still had a copy of this certificate in her possession, selling the shares would be a relatively simple matter. She would just open an account with another (hopefully more dependable) stockbroker and ask them to sell the shares. Because the Nigerian Stock Exchange no longer uses share certificates, the new broker will likely ask her to fill out some additional paperwork to de-materialize the old certificate and enter its information into the exchange’s electronic clearinghouse, the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS).
If a share certificate is lost or was never issued, the next piece of information to look for is a CSCS statement. This statement shows all the shares owned by an investor. If she has this, all Tomi’s mum needs to do is present the statement when opening a new brokerage account and they will be able to sell her shares.
No Documentation? Try the Company Share Registrar
But what happens if you’ve lost your share certificate and the CSCS doesn’t have record of you?
“In Nigeria,” says John Agbo, Managing Director of Standard Alliance Capital and Asset Management, “you need to provide a sworn affidavit to the company registrar.”
The registrar’s role is to keep track of all the company’s share movement, no matter whether those shares have been dematerialized or not. Because the CSCS only monitors shares that have already been dematerialized, says Bukola Oluwadiya, Managing Director of Magnartis Finance and Investment, the registrar is your best bet when shares have been lost.
“Your particulars will be taken along with a signature sample. The registrar will then investigate the claim and issue a new share certificate if they determine the claim is valid,” says Agbo.
The biggest worry would be that the broker sold the shares without Tomi’s mum’s permission to do so. Even if this were to be the case, Garba says the CSCS could still access the shares for her because it mirrors all of her share-trading activity.
No matter what the circumstances, tracking down the shares can involve significant paperwork, says Oluwadiya. Investors can authorize a broker or agent to track down the shares on their behalf for a fee.
What Did I Miss?
Have you ever lost track of your broker? Or lost a share certificate? How did you resolve the situation? Let us know in the comments!
How to Invest on the Nigerian Stock Exchange
30 thoughts on “How to Sell Your Shares If Your Broker Goes AWOL”
Thank you for this article, Ryan! Very helpful 🙂
Thank you, Ryan, for the article and for taking interest in the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Your article educates me more on the NSE, which I have taken an interest of late as I think this is the best time to invest. Thank you once again, Ryan.
Thanks, Temitayo. I’m glad you found it helpful. Keep us posted on how your investment goes!
I have my csc number and I want to sell part of my shares. How do I go about doing that?
You can just take your CSC number to your broker and tell them how many shares that you’d like to sell. It’s not necessary to sell all of your shares at once.
It would be nice to know whether you can guide us on which stock to invest in. Please assist in this regard.
I have ETI shares that I want to sell, but I don’t have a broker. How can I go about it, Ryan?
If you have a copy of your share certificate, you can take it to a broker, open an account, and ask them to sell the shares for you. You may be required to fill out some paperwork to “dematerialize” the shares, because most markets no longer use share certificates.
Hello ryan..u really have a good article here..pls I am a nigerian and I bought this ecobank eti shares since 2008 but since 2011 I have not been receiving my dividend again.. Pls what can I do… Secondly, I would love to sell off the shares but I don’t know where I can get a good stock broker.. Thirdly, will it be wise for me to sell off the shares now… I hope for your wise reply soon… Once again thanks ryan u really helping africans..
Sir I’m very happy to come across this site, I have some shares in some company when I was in ibadan these was bought through anchoria inv and security ltd, due to my relocation I have not been receiving bonus share cert and dividends and most stock broker here abuja are requesting for 500,000 for opening of acct. Does Anchoria have office in abuja? Or is there any stock that collect small money for opening of acct with them, thanks
It does, in fact, appear that Anchoria has an office in Abuja.
Here are the contact details from their website (http://www.anchoriaonline.com/contact-us/).
1st Floor, BMG Plaza,
Plot 2222 SFAX Close,
Wuse, Zone .4
Opposite Military Pension Board,
Tel: +234 (0) 108925899
Hi Ryan, I would like to know the rate of Brokerage due to a broker when they help to sell or buy shares on your behalf in Nigeria. I would like to know if there is a stipulated rate or percentage fee to be charged.
Tnks so much…. I wil lyk to knw d cost of opening an account? Secondly, please can i get names of companies that sells shares in lagos, thirdly, can i buy shares of 25,000,and lastly… How does the shares count,i.e how does the money increase, from what tym to tym… Tnks
Please since 2013 I went to sell my ETI share but my broker was telling me that Eco bank has chang to international. Which it will take them time to velify my Nigeria share here.And since that 2013 till now my broker stil telling me that they have not velify my acount and without velify it I can’t sell it. Please what wil I do.
If I invest through a stock brokerage and buy a mutual fund do I still get a CSCS file for each share in that mutual fund. Say the broker shuts down. How will I prove that I owned that mutual fund.
Thanks Ryan, for your advice on share issue. How can I trace my shares and obtain the cscs number, I gave my share to my broker, to dematerialize, which am aware he did successfully, because he kept me abreast of the process, but he unfortunately passed on in an auto crash before I could be fed with details such as my cscs number, but the account is in my name. Please, help me with information on how to go about tracking my shares.
Please sir, I opened a cscs account in2007 with a stock broking firm but later transferred the account to another stock broker in lagos, I went back to my new stock broker only to discover that they are no longer in business, please how can I trace my cscs account. I have my cscs account information but do not know how to trace it. Please help me sir.
If you have a CSCS statement, you can simply take it a new broker and they will be able to trace your shares.
Hope this helps and keep us posted on your progress!
What if I bought the shares from the secondary market not during primary offer and My stock broker Goes AWOL.
I brought an eti share in ecobank as at 2008 and now I am willing to sell how can I go about selling it I mean does it take time to sell or how does it look like
Helo, i bought shares in 4 dif banks wit their certificates,how do i sale them. thanks
You can take the certificates to a licensed stockbroker. They will guide you the process of dematerializing the certificates and then selling them.
Hello…..I bought shares with different banks and companies in Nigeria , how long will it take to sell them?
The time varies from stock to stock. Assuming you are selling at the current market price, very active stocks can be sold within hours of you asking your broker to sell them. Other less active (illiquid) stocks can take days or sometimes even weeks.
I bought share from First bank Plc Since 2007 and I want to sell some now and I don’t even no my broker but I have my certificate with me. Pls I need to know how to go about it and how long will it take to sell.
I am a cameroonian living out of nigeria.I bought some shares in nigeria in 2015 and would like to sell them now.I have never collected my dividends money since 2015 because I don’t have a nigerian account.I would like to open one but it seems so complicated.Do I also need to have a bank account in case i want to sell the shares ???♀️What do I do please?
Thanks in advance for your response.
My brokers are no longer operating, but I have my cscs no. Pls how do I find out how much shares I own.
I suggest that you contact the CSCS customer care line and request a statement:
You can also take your CSCS number to a new broker, open an account with them, and they should be able to help get a statement for you.
I bought shares from first bank plc since 2007,uptil now 2018 no certificate,how do I go about getting my certificate.
Listed companies in Nigeria no longer issue certificates. I suggest contacting your broker and asking for a statement of your account. This should indicate your current share holdings.