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When do shares go ex-dividend?

Wednesday 23rd January 2002

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Q: When do shares go ex-dividend? Within the last month before the dividend? Is there a rule for this from the NZSE or does the company decide it?

A: Yes, there are rules and a set time frame for dividend dates. If you go to you can see the NZSE Listing Rules which contain all the information a listed company must comply with in relation to dividends. The basic outline is this:

When a company announces that it intends to pay a dividend, it gives a series of dates that relate to the payment of those monies. They are the record date, the ex-date and the payment date. The record date is the date that the share registry closes the company's shareholder register and all registered holders of the shares on that date will receive that dividend. A record date is always the last business day of the week in New Zealand (usually a Friday). The rules differ in Australia. The ex-date is the next business day after the record date (usually a Monday). If you purchase a share after it has gone ex-dividend you are not entitled to that dividend. The NZSE Listing Rules state that a listed company must allow a minimum of two weeks between when it announces the intention to pay a dividend and the record date. The payment date is when the company will pay the dividend to its shareholders.

The company can name the actual record date and payment date and can therefore choose the timing that best suits its cashflows. However, it must still comply with the NZSE's Listing Rules.

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