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Record Date


The Record Date is a crucial date set by a company when determining which shareholders are eligible to receive dividends or other corporate actions, such as stock splits or voting rights. To be considered an eligible shareholder, one must own the stock before or on the record date. Any stock transactions conducted after the record date do not affect the distribution of dividends or corporate actions.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Record Date” is:/ˈrekərd deɪt/

Key Takeaways

  1. The Record Date is a specific date set by a company on which it determines the registered shareholders who are eligible to receive dividends, vote at shareholders’ meetings, or participate in other corporate events.
  2. Investors must have completed their stock purchases and have them registered by the Record Date to be considered eligible for any benefits. The Ex-dividend Date, which is usually two business days before the Record Date, is the last day to purchase shares and still receive the dividend or participate in the event.
  3. Understanding the Record Date is crucial for investors and traders to manage their portfolios and make informed decisions about buying, selling, or holding securities. Companies usually announce important dates such as Record and Ex-dividend Dates in advance, enabling investors to plan accordingly.


The Record Date is a crucial term in business and finance as it determines the eligibility of shareholders to receive dividends, participate in rights issues, or vote at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) or other corporate events. By establishing a specific date, companies and financial institutions can accurately identify the registered owners of their securities, allowing them to allocate benefits and privileges fairly and transparently among their investors. Consequently, the Record Date fosters investor confidence, ensures accountability, and plays an essential role in maintaining the smooth functioning of financial markets, making it an important term in the business and finance landscape.


The purpose of the record date in finance and business practices is to establish a specific point in time when a company can determine its registered shareholders, who will be eligible to receive dividends, rights, and other benefits that arise from share ownership. This date is critical to both the company and its investors, as it provides a clear and transparent indication of who is entitled to participate in corporate actions and receive distributions. By setting a record date, the company can ensure that only eligible shareholders receive their due share of profits or participate in voting, thus maintaining fairness and order in the process. This identification of eligible shareholders also aids companies in assessing shareholders’ response to certain corporate actions, such as stock splits, share buybacks, or any other shareholder-specific event.

In practice, the record date is used in conjunction with other important dates, such as the ex-dividend date and the payment date. The ex-dividend date is typically set one or two business days before the record date, after which any new purchasers of the stock will not be eligible to receive the upcoming dividend. This distinction between shareholders who are eligible and those who are not ensures that the company disburses the dividends accurately and to the correct individuals. In turn, this promotes investor trust in the corporation’s management and financial processes. As a result, the record date serves as an essential component in managing corporate actions, benefiting both the issuing company and the shareholders through accurate and well-organized distribution processes.


Example 1: Apple Inc. Dividend Record DateOn July 27, 2021, Apple Inc. announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.22 per common share. The company set a record date of August 13, 2021, for this dividend payment. This means that only shareholders who were listed in Apple’s records as owning shares by the close of business on August 13, 2021, would be eligible to receive the dividend payment. The dividend was then paid on August 19, 2021, to the shareholders of record.

Example 2: Microsoft Corporation Stock Split Record DateOn February 18, 2003, Microsoft Corporation announced a two-for-one stock split of its common shares. The company set a record date of March 7, 2003, for the stock split. This meant that shareholders who owned Microsoft shares as of the close of business on March 7, 2003, would receive two shares for every one share they held. The split shares were distributed on March 27, 2003, to the shareholders of record.

Example 3: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting Record DateIn March of 2021, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. announced that its annual shareholders meeting would take place on May 1, 2021. The company set a record date of March 3, 2021, for determining shareholders eligible to vote at the meeting. This meant that only shareholders who were listed in the company’s records as owners of Berkshire Hathaway shares by the close of business on March 3, 2021, had the right to vote at the annual meeting held on May 1, 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Record Date in finance and business terms?

The Record Date is a specific date chosen by a company on which it identifies all the registered shareholders who are eligible to receive dividends, interest payments, or any form of corporate action like stock splits, rights issues, or bonus shares.

Why is Record Date crucial for shareholders?

The Record Date is vital for shareholders because it helps them determine their eligibility to receive any form of benefits from the company. If an investor becomes a shareholder after the Record Date, they will not be eligible to receive the benefits from that specific corporate action.

Is the Record Date the same as the Ex-Dividend Date?

No, the Record Date and Ex-Dividend Date are two different dates. The Ex-Dividend Date is the date on or after which a new investor would not be entitled to receive the declared dividend or benefit, whereas the Record Date is the cut-off date established by the company to determine eligible shareholders.

How do companies determine the Record Date?

The Board of Directors of a company usually decides the Record Date. They pick a date based on regulatory requirements, stock exchange rules, and the time needed for the company’s transfer agent to finalize the list of shareholders.

What should an investor do to be eligible for the benefits of a Record Date?

To be eligible for benefits like dividends, the investor should purchase the shares before the Ex-Dividend Date and hold them at least through the Record Date. Generally, investors buy shares a few days before the Ex-Dividend Date in order to allow sufficient time for the settlement process to complete.

How does the Record Date impact the stock price?

On the Ex-Dividend Date, the stock price usually drops by approximately the amount of the dividend or benefit to be distributed. This is because new investors buying the shares after the Ex-Dividend Date will not be eligible to receive the declared dividend or benefit.

Can the Record Date be changed once it is announced?

Although it is rare, a company may change the Record Date after announcing it. This usually occurs if there are unexpected issues or delays in processing the list of registered shareholders, or if new regulations or exchange rules come into effect.

Related Finance Terms

  • Ex-dividend date
  • Dividend announcement
  • Shareholder of record
  • Payment date
  • Declaration date

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