​These are unprecedented times. That seems to be the catchphrase of the moment. It is also very apt.

As the ripple of uncertainty reverberates throughout the industry, we are seeing companies making very difficult decisions about how their business operates, including suspending or delaying dividend distributions.

Whilst these measures may be in the best interests of the company, clearly investors will be impacted by the consequential financial shortfall. This is why the strong steps we have taken, and continue to take, to combat cheque fraud and protect shareholder assets are so important. We are also doing everything in our ability to ensure that shareholders receive the funds that they are due, including:

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    Keeping shareholders happy: our payment reissue programme

    We will be actively interrogating registers to identify shareholders who have omitted to bank their dividend cheque(s) or who have had previous payments rejected or returned. With the consent of your company, we will consolidate all funds still owing to the shareholder and reissue them. We will be systematically assessing all our registers to complete this exercise as it is more important than ever that shareholders are not out of pocket in relation to funds due to them. We will only be applying our standard reissue fees to shareholders to fund this exercise; there will be no additional charge to our clients.

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    Our expertise in cheque-less dividends

    Today’s climate has highlighted the need for companies to consider alternatives to cheque payments more than ever. This is a particular field of speciality for us with over 10 years' experience. We implemented the first cheque-less dividend event in the UK market and have been working with an increasing number of our clients over the last few years to adopt the practice. We have also been advising Issuers in the wider industry and are delighted to see our unique knowledge and vital experience in this field delivering real benefits to our clients and their shareholders. One of the key benefits of cheque-less dividends is the eradication of cheque fraud. Having removed cheques as a dividend payment method completely, many of our clients have had huge successes, reaping the added benefits of reduced stationery, postage costs and lessening their environmental impact. There are also advantages to shareholders with payments being delivered quicker and the removal of the need to post cheques along with the subsequent presentation to the bank for clearing. Issuing dividends directly into shareholders’ bank accounts also removes any reliance on base stock suppliers and postal service providers. While these networks of stockists and delivery services are very reliable, today’s challenges do shed new light on how we can mitigate risks in the future.

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    Combating cheque fraud

    It is unfortunate, but experience shows that criminals will attempt to take advantage of difficult times. Protecting shareholder assets is at the heart of our values and we are constantly investigating ways we can increase the security connected with the issuance of cheques and adapt to ever-changing threats. Cheque-fraud has been on the rise recently and, in-part at least, is linked to the new banking technology that allows you to scan the image of a cheque for deposit via your smartphone banking app. We are actively assessing a number of emerging industry practices to see how they might be able to assist and will keep our clients informed accordingly.

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    Protecting you from funding fraud

    To protect against the possibility of funding fraud (where the funding letter issued by us is intercepted and bank details are altered to direct funds to a fraudster’s account), please know that you will never be contacted by Computershare at short notice to fund a different dividend account. This will not happen. Normally, you will already be familiar with the account we instruct you to fund and any variation should be challenged. Should you receive any communication that purports to be from Computershare of such a nature, please contact your Client Manager immediately. In the unlikely event that we do need to change the funding account for your dividend or another type of payment, you will be contacted well in advance by your Client Manager. They will provide duly authenticated instructions and ask you to acknowledge and confirm receipt of these with both themselves and your Senior Client Manager. We take this very seriously and would appreciate your support in this matter.

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    Reducing the impact of Brexit on Euro payments

    Brexit is no longer leading the news but we still need to be mindful that it is on the horizon and conversations will turn back to this subject once the current crisis subsides. Euroclear, the UK and Ireland’s current authorisation to facilitate Euro payments in the CREST system, is set to expire after March 2021. While they continue to assess the position with the ECB (European Central Bank), it is feasible that Euro payments may not be possible through CREST after that time. We do have comprehensive SEPA (Single European Payment Area) capabilities and will be able to provide electronic payment methods for our clients who pay dividends in Euro, ensuring the prompt receipt of dividend funds. However, this will be a shift for institutional investors and something we will want to provide clarity on in terms of messaging and options available. We will be actively engaged with clients who are directly impacted.

​Need assistance or guidance?

If you would like to know how we can help you with your payment services, please contact your Client Manager. If you are not an existing Computershare client, please fill in the form below:

We will process your data in line with our privacy notice. Your information will be held securely and will not be passed to any third parties for their own use.​