Doing a status check for shareholdings or unclaimed dividend that remain transferred with the Investor Education Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) is set to become a click away. You as an Indian citizen can soon do some deep dive into an integrated IT portal to see status of your or even your parents/grandparents lost wealth.
As a first phase of operationalising the new integrated IT portal, a comprehensive search capability module in this portal will go live this month to help the citizens claim their lost wealth, official sources said.
“Suppose you want to know if any of your grandfather’s shares or dividends remain unclaimed with IEPFA, all that you may have to do is search this integrated portal against his name or folio no or the district he belonged to. Search can happen on other attributes also”, official sources said.
It is called an integrated IT portal as it will have two main features —search and the claim process.
“Search portion is almost ready and will be launched shortly. Broader application is in the works”, official sources said.
The search experience under the new integrated IT portal is expected to be much better than the current one under the version 3.0 of the MCA21 portal, they added.
Investor education, fund protection
The Government had set up the IEPFA in September 2016 for administration of Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF). Provisional data upto end November 2022 showed that the total balance in the IEBF stood at ₹ 5,685 crore. Total number of unclaimed shares in IEPF stood at 117 crore shares.
There is very little awareness among investing public on the existence of IEPFA and the fact that they can reclaim shares or unpaid dividends that have been transferred by companies to the Investor Education Protection Fund (IEPF) on account of various reasons.
“Search module will give the status of what all shares and dividends have been transferred by the company to IEPF so that people can make a claim”, official sources said.
Budget announcement implementation
The Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in her budget speech this year announced that an integrated IT portal will be established to enable investors reclaim unclaimed shares and unpaid dividends from the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA).
MCA has been from time to time taking measures to streamline the working as well as refund process at IEPFA.
In January last year, MCA had empowered IEPFA to liquidate shares held by it and acquired on account of dividend remaining unpaid or unclaimed by the shareholder for a period of seven years.
IEPFA’s broader role
IEPFA was also empowered to offer the shares to the acquiring entity in case of amalgamation, share exchange, conversion of securities and also receive money on behalf of minority shareholders.
Prior to this, IEPFA could surrender the shares only in case of delisting of securities or when the company was getting wound up.
MCA had also then said that the money received on behalf of the minority shareholders should be credited to the IEPF and a separate ledger account should be maintained for such proceeds.