In trading, the record date refers to the date on which an investor must be listed as a stock owner in a public company’s records in order to be eligible for annual dividends.
The settlement period must be complete by this date for a stock’s new owner to be eligible for the annual dividend. For this reason, a trade must be initiated before the ex-dividend date. This falls either 2 or 3 trading days ahead of the record date (depending on whether an exchange uses a T+2 or a T+3 settlement period).
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