Australian investors will pocket billions of dollars worth of dividends in the coming weeks after a monster reporting season.
Mining giant BHP alone is paying out $23.2 billion in the form of a full-year dividend. Scores of other companies, from Fortescue and JB Hi-Fi to the Commonwealth Bank and CS, are paying billions of dollars more.
With that in mind, we thought we’d answer your burning dividend questions.
Who is eligible to receive dividends?
Any shareholder in a dividend-paying company – whether they own shares directly or via an exchange-traded fund (ETF) – can expect to receive one as long as they owned the shares before the ex-dividend date.
What does ex-dividend mean?
Every company has a set day called an ex-dividend (or ex-date) which helps it define who is and isn’t owed a dividend.
In this sense, an ex-dividend is the day by which an investor must be a shareholder in order to be eligible for a distribution.
This is one day before a ‘record date’ on which the company checks its register and finalises how much will be paid out to individual investors, depending on the size of each person’s shareholding.
Own shares at any day before the ex-dividend date and you can expect a figurative cheque in the mail. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting until the next dividend is due.
Just remember: because the ASX works on a two-day delay, you’ll need to have bought your shares at least two days before the ex-div date to be sure you’re eligible.
How do I find out when a company or ETF goes ex-dividend?
Typically, a company will provide this information to the exchange on which it trades and publish a schedule on its website.
When can I expect to receive my dividends?
Typically once an Australian company announces a dividend, it takes a few weeks for the dividend to be paid out to shareholders.
Let’s look at BHP’s schedule this year to highlight how the process can look.
On August 16, BHP announced in its earnings that its full-year dividend would be US$1.75.
Two weeks later, on September 1, is the ex-dividend date for ASX shareholders.
Three weeks after that, on September 22, BHP will pay the final dividend to eligible shareholders.
Side note: the dividend will be fully-franked meaning Australian shareholders may be able to claim a partial tax refund.
Where can I find my dividends on Superhero?
If you hold shares on the Superhero platform, your dividend will automatically show up in your Superhero wallet, usually within 1-2 business days after the payment date. A transaction record and your dividend statement can be found under Activity Tab.
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