Date of Record for Dividends

Updated on April 16, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is The Date of Record of Dividends?

The date of record of dividends is the cut-off date decided by the top management before which the investor’s name should be present in the company’s books to get the dividend payment of particular security.

Date of Record for Dividends Meaning

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In simple words, it is the date announced by the board of directors of any firm on or before which a stockholder or shareholder must own the firm’s shares to be eligible to receive a dividend. The shares sold after this date are known as ex-dividend shares.

Key Takeaways

  • The date of record for dividends is the predetermined date by which an investor’s name must be registered in a company’s books to qualify for receiving the dividend payment for a specific security. It establishes ownership eligibility for dividend distribution.
  • The date of record is closely related to the ex-dividend date, which is set two business days before it. 
  • The company uses the date of record to determine the list of shareholders entitled to receive dividends. No actual transaction occurs on this date; it serves as a reference point for dividend distribution.

Date of Record of Dividends Explained

The Date of Record for Dividends is the date before which the investors should register themselves for the dividends to be paid for a security. It should be determined strictly since it is essential to ascertain who the company’s shareholders are as of that date because shareholders of actively traded stock are changing continuously. The shareholders in the record as of the record date are entitled to receive dividends or distributions declared.

Record Date

Record Date is usually set to ascertain the holders of a particular stock to understand who is entitled to receive the distribution and who is not. When a company prepares to distribute the dividend among the shareholders, this shareholder’s record is used to understand who owns the stocks. The record date varies among the types of securities. When any trade is executed, the investor becomes the owner of the record on the settlement.

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Suppose a company decides to give its shareholders the dividends for which it has to go through various steps.

It is important because of its relationship with another essential factor- the ex-dividend dateEx-dividend DateAn ex-dividend date is one of the four important dividend dates, usually set one business day before the record date. It is a deadline; shareholders need to buy the stocks before this date to become eligible for the upcoming dividend payout. It is also called the ex-date.read more. It must be kept in mind that on and after the ex-dividend date, the stockholder or shareholder will not receive any dividend as the seller is entitled to it.

The ex-dividend date is the date that is set precisely two business days before the record date. This system exists because of the T+3 system of settlement presently in use in North America, per which stock trades settle three business days after the transaction is carried out.

So if an investor decides to buy a stock two business days before its record date, his trade would only get settled the day after the record date. Then the investor will not be a shareholder of record for receiving dividends or distribution.

Date of Record for Dividends Video



Let us consider the following examples to understand the concept:

Example #1

Suppose a company XYZ Ltd has made a declaration of dividend on November 1 and identified November 16 as the Record Date. The company’s board makes the dividend declaration of directors in writing. This declaration implies that all the stockholdersThe StockholdersA stockholder is a person, company, or institution who owns one or more shares of a company. They are the company's owners, but their liability is limited to the value of their shares.read more or shareholders on November 6 will receive a record date of a dividend. It is irrelevant that who owns the stock on November 1 because November 16 is the date that the company XYZ Ltd. will account for all of its shareholders.

Example #2

Let us take an example of company ABC Ltd., which has formally declared a $2 dividend per ABC share payable on August 1, 2017, to the shareholders of record as of August 20, 2017. The record date is August 20, 2017, and the ex-dividend date is to be set to two business days, which is August 18, 2017.

So if a shareholder wants to receive the dividend of $2 per ABC share, then he must buy the stock before its ex-dividend date.

Record Date Example

So if an investor hears that a company has declared dividendsDeclared DividendsDividend declared is that portion of profits earned that the company’s board of directors decides to pay off as dividends to the shareholders of such company in return to the investment done by the shareholders through the purchase of the company’s securities.read more, he must buy the stock on or before the ex-dividend date. No journal entry is made on the record date since no transaction has happened on that date. The company only keeps a list or record of its shareholders on this date.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why is the date of record for dividends important for dividend payments?

The date of record is crucial as it determines which shareholders are eligible to receive dividends. Only shareholders on the record will receive the dividend payment as of this date. It prevents buying shares just before the ex-dividend date solely to receive dividends, maintaining fairness in the dividend distribution.

2. Is the date of record for dividends the same as the ex-dividend date?

No, the date of record and the ex-dividend date are different. The ex-dividend date is usually a few days before the date of record. If you buy shares on or after the ex-dividend date, you will not receive the upcoming dividend, but the date of record determines your eligibility as a shareholder.

3. Are there any exceptions to the date of record for the dividend rule?

There can be exceptions based on specific dividend reinvestment programs, preferred share terms, or other company-specific policies. Companies may have unique rules for dividend eligibility, so it’s essential to refer to the company’s dividend policy for details.

This has been a guide to what is Date of Record for dividends. Here, we explain the concept along with examples to clarify the concept. You may have a look at these articles below to learn more about accounting –

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