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Date of record

The date of record is the date on which you must be the owner of stock in order to receive a dividend payment.

Expanded Definition

When a company declares a dividend, they also state on which day you must be the owner of the stock in order to receive that payment. Because of the delay between buying stock and the settlement and recording of that purchase, you must actually purchase the shares at least two days prior to the day of record (that is, before the ex-dividend date) in order to own those shares in time.

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