Important dates to know about with regard to dividends
When a company pays a dividend, a sequence of events takes place according to a schedule. This is to ensure that the dividends are paid to the right shareholders.
Declaration date: Firstly, the company will announce the amount of the dividend and the relevant dates. This often happens on the same day the company announces its results.
Last date to trade: This is the last day you can buy a share and still receive the dividend.
Ex-dividend date: On the day after the last day to trade, the share trades without the dividend. If you buy a share on this day you will not receive a dividend.
Record date: The record date is the same as the settlement date for trades that took place on the last day to trade. Anyone that owns a share on this day will receive the dividend. This date is after the ex-div date because trades take a few days to settle.
Payment date: Dividends are paid on the payment date which is usually a few days after the record date.