Friday, January 19, 2007

Citigroup Dividend Announcement Strategy

Citigroup (NYSE:C) announces dividends payable 35 days in the future. Many publicly traded companies do this. I have just been waiting for a big one to make the point. In an age when billions of dollars of payments and settlements are made on a daily basis many companies announce dividends that are payable well into the future. Citigroup certainly has the wherewithal to effect instantaneous settlement if it so chooses.

Share prices will now reflect declared but unpaid dividends. Trading before the ex dividend date is problematic. The question becomes does the stock price reflect all the market data (good and bad) or is it propped up by the short-term dividend consideration. Once the dividend is paid does the market look at bad news previously announced and considers it fully discounted.

Governance Kudo’s to Citigroup as they did declare the dividend after the earnings were released as opposed to companies who declare dividends well before earnings are actually released.

The obvious and easy solution to implement is once a dividend is declared the record date should be the same date and the payment date is five business days thereafter. Shareholders who are dividend oriented receive the funds sooner. Frothy traders have an incredibly small window to muck around with.