There are times when shares or dividends held with the company investors had parked their money in are moved to a separate unpaid divided account, as per the Companies Act, 2013. Such unclaimed funds are transferred to the Investor Education and Protection Fund by the companies after a waiting period of seven consecutive years.
The market regulator SEBI established the Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) to promote investor awareness and protect the interest of the investors.
Read on to find out how you can redeem funds or shares that were unclaimed.
Information on website
Listed companies have to provide the details of unclaimed dividends on their website, including the name, last known address and dividend to be paid to each person.
Every company, within 90 days of holding its annual general meeting every year, should upload the unclaimed amounts in their website with all the details till the completion of seven years.
Also, the unclaimed amounts are to be uploaded in the IEPF website.
Investors are provided with options to claim the dividends within seven years from the company directly.
If they don’t claim the amount within that period, companies transfer the fund to the IEPF.
K V Sanil Kumar, Associate Director at Geojit Financial Services says that the application money received by companies for allotment of securities and due for refund, matured deposits with companies other than banking companies, matured debentures with companies and interest accrued thereon are transferred to the IEPF. Section 124 (6) of the Companies Act, 2013, also clarifies that in case any dividend is paid or claimed by the investor any time during the seven consecutive years, such shares shall not be transferred to the fund.
Refund has been made available to investors under the Companies Act, 2013 which was not available earlier under the Companies Act, 1956.
Procedure for refund
The IEPF-5 form can be downloaded from the IEPF website (www.iepf.gov.in) for claiming the refund. Investors or the claimants should fill in all necessary details (claimant name, company name, details of shares claimed, details of the amount claimed, Aadhaar number, number of claims, details of bank account and the demat account number) in the form and upload it in the IEPF website.
The uploaded form will be redirected to MCA21, where the service request number (SRN) will be generated after successful uploading of the form (to be saved for future tracking). You will be asked for a payment option. Even though the fee is nil for making the claim, you must click on the pay option to generate an acknowledgement. The investor should submit a copy of both the filled up claim form with the signature and acknowledgement and indemnity bond to the nodal officer (IEPF) of the company.
Time taken for refund
“On receipt of the claim from the investors, the company sends a verification report in 15 days to the IEPF authority along with the documents, says Sanil. Investors will then get paid through electronic transfer.
In the case of refund of shares, the authority will either credit the shares to the demat account of the investor or provide physical certificates.
The refund process is completed within 60 days from the date of receipt of verification report from the company.
Source: The Hindu 11 Mar 2018, by Ms Nithya PalaNi