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If I own 15 shares of a stock that makes a cash dividend payment of 0.635/share for a total dividend payment of $9.525, who determines how the half-penny is handled?

I couldn't find any documentation regarding this situation

  • For my brokerage account;
  • From the issuing company (the issuing company usually states how fractional shares will be handled in a split/spinoff);
  • From FINRA (http://www.finra.org); and
  • I didn't even try to find an SEC rule.
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  • 2
    Can you provide an example of a stock that is paying out dividends in fractions of a penny?
    – Ben Miller
    Nov 30, 2018 at 17:35
  • 1
    Here is an example from Royal Bank of Canada which paid out half-cents per share in 2005 and 2003. Nov 30, 2018 at 18:00
  • 10
    That's not 5 thousandths of a penny, that is 5 thousandths of a dollar.
    – Glen Yates
    Nov 30, 2018 at 18:18
  • @Glen Yates, very true. Dec 1, 2018 at 23:25
  • 2
    @Ben Miller, here are four of the literally hundreds of US traded companies with a market cap greater than US$ 100 MM that paid a fractional penny dividend that went ex in November, 2018: ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV (BUD) 0.677/share; ELI LILLY AND COMPANY (LLY) 0.563/share; UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION (UTX) 0.735/share; THE TJX COMPANIES, INC. (TJX) 0.195/share. Dec 2, 2018 at 21:53

1 Answer 1

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I recently opened up a Robinhood account with a small amount of money. Due to their lack of commission fees I have been buying 1 share. They round the dividends up or down:

SCHZ paid a dividend of $.1286 per share. You were credited $0.13.

and

Number of shares 1  
Amount per share $0.0445
Total amount $0.04

I had one dividend that had the fractional penny equal to 5 and they rounded up, which was surprising since they will need to round up 50/100 times (given an odd number of shares), and round down only 49/100 times (not round at all 1/100), which seems to suggest they will lose money on the rounding. But I also received a dividend of 0.125 per share that they rounded down to $0.12 . So they may alternate rounding the 0.005 up or down in order to avoid gaining or losing money the rounding.

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    the ...5 that was rounded up, was the resulting last digit even? Bankers' rounding means rounding to even, precisely to avoid the asymmetry you spotted. You'll note that 0.125 -> 0.12 is rounding to even.
    – AakashM
    May 1, 2019 at 8:09
  • @AakashM I see a 0.045 that rounded to 0.05 . The only other "3rd digit is 5" dividend I have is 0.0257 -> 0.03.
    – Scooter
    May 2, 2019 at 3:22

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