Physical shares, IEPF, Unclaimed shares and you

Physical shares, IEPF, Unclaimed shares and you

Do you have any idea how much of wealth is wasting out there to be claimed by the person who invested or his / her legal heirs? It is mind boggling. Often, the figures are so numbing that it makes no sense to a common man.

When a worker joins the company, he gets Provident Fund. The employees, in order to save tax, invest an insurance. Safety minded Indian middle-class puts the money in fixed deposit in banks. More enterprising and risk-taking ones invest in capital market.

However, these details are never organized and passed on to the next of kin. With the results tens of thousands of crores are lost or unclaimed. Estimate of insurance unclaimed is over Rs.15,000 crores. Provident Fund unclaimed is over Rs.10,000 crores. Since, there are no single nodal agency, it is hard to estimate the bank deposits, but it is likely to be over Rs.15,000 crores.

The value of shares unclaimed or is rendered useless is truly astronomical. They easily dwarf the total of insurance, Provident Fund and Bank fixed deposit put together.

In order to understand the problems of unclaimed shares, one must trace the history of shares. Shares as we know, are traded in stock exchange. We open a Demat Account, log into the Demat Account electronically and buy or sell shares in lightning speed. Technology has largely organized the share trading, insurance investment, Provident Fund and bank deposit. However, what has happened in the past is still a deep-rooted problem.

Our focus in this blog is only shares. Since they easily constitute over 50% of the unclaimed wealth.

We have a disclaimer to make here, we have vested interest. Our company serves clients – end to end – to claim their unclaimed shares, their duplicate shares, the shares taken away by the Government in the form of IEPF – Investor Education and Protection Fund.

In order to understand the complexity of the problems as said earlier, it pays to trace the history of shares. All shares were issued in physical form. i.e. shares were printed in a piece of paper and handed over to the recipient. Shares were transferred to another person by filling up share transfer forms. Till the year 1999, obtaining paper shares was a norm and was not an exception.

Only in the year 1999, issue of shares in electronic format was made mandatory.

Till 2005, simple procedure of nomination was not available for the shareholders.

Given the scenario, it is quite possible that lot of shares dropped out of the horizons due to various reasons. It may be due to simple reasons such as change of residence or something more complex such as a secretive father dying without informing the next generation.

These shares have gained enormously in volume over time. Total value of shares in physical form stagnant even today will be to the tune of Rs.1,50,000 crores.

This is a menace. In order to counter and misuse of unclaimed shares, the government came out with a series of legislation’s.

  1. They formed IEPF – Investor Education and Protection Fund and mandated every company to transfer the dividends to a designated account if the dividend has not been claimed for seven years i.e., if a dividend warrant has not been encashed for seven years, at the start of eight year the total amount will be transferred to the government fund, which of course can be claimed back.
  2. As on 30th September 2018, they asked the companies to transfer the shares on which dividends has not been claimed for seven years to IEPF. Therefore, the companies transferred lot of shares to IEPF. Total value of shares transferred on 30th September 2018, by top hundred companies alone was Rs.11,000 crores.
  3. The Government stopped the companies from sending dividend by way of dividend warrant effective 30th September 2018.
  4. The government stopped the transfer of shares in paper form to another person with effect from 31st March 2019, i.e., presently even if somebody has paper share, they cannot transfer the shares without demating the shares.

All these measures are laudably. One would be reasonably expecting, this menace of unclaimed shares would have been a thing of past. Alas, we are not just standing there, but we are worse of compared to where we were earlier. Consider the following table, this is only the top hundred companies.

Period IEPF Physical
Sep-18 1,10,89,40,29,400.90 10,36,25,19,89,180.00
Dec-18 1,11,67,99,98,161.75 9,09,64,99,69,407.43
Difference 78,59,68,760.85 -1,26,60,20,19,772.57
Dec-18 1,11,67,99,98,161.75 9,60,00,91,45,398.08
Mar-19 77,98,97,17,056.00 9,09,64,99,69,407.43
Difference -33,69,02,81,105.75 -50,35,91,75,990.65
Mar-19 77,98,97,17,056.00 9,07,24,59,05,079.37
Jun-19 1,23,36,18,63,517.75 8,61,85,62,77,606.44
Difference 45,37,21,46,461.75 -45,38,96,27,472.93
Jun-19 1,23,36,18,63,517.75 8,61,85,62,77,606.44
Sep-19 1,34,21,53,05,475.15 8,47,61,72,01,559.49
Difference 10,85,34,41,957.40 -14,23,90,76,046.95

On the deadline (30th Sep, 2018) the companies transferred Rs.11,000/- worth of shares to the government. This is progressively increasing quarter on quarter and today it is over Rs.13,400 crores.

After transferring the shares to IEPF, the physical shares that are lying with general public which are not transferred to IEPF is over Rs.1,00,000 crores. Please bear in mind a share gets transferred to IEPF only if dividend remains unclaimed for seven years.

So, there are lot of unclaimed shares as on today. After all the steps taken by the government, government manage to reduce the problem only Rs.1,000 crores. So, we can say a little over 0.60% of the problem was solved!

From September 2018 to September 2019, Rs.24,000 crores worth of shares was transferred to IEPF and the physical shares have reduced by only Rs.25,000 crores during the same period.

In our reasonable estimate the total monetary value of the problem is Rs.1,50,000 crores based on our today’s economy and today’s market prices.

It is this problem we seek to tackle by providing end to end services to the clients. It is sufficient if you know your father had shares. Approach us. We will do end to end work by taking all services required and get you the shares. This procedure is very complex, and it often involves giving police complaint in case all duplicate shares, getting legal heir certificate from the municipalities, getting succession certificate or probating bill if there is one. We provide full end to end services and we are more than happy to be of assistance. We are just a call or click away.