Ask Colin

When does a company decide which shareholders get a dividend?

This is fully explained, I think on the ASX web site. However, the basic idea is that there are two key dates:

The Ex-dividend date: Any transaction on or after this date is without the dividend attached to the shares.

The record date (I think it used to be called the Books Closing date): This is the date on which the company closes its books to determine who is paid the dividend. It is the broker's responsibility to get all the transactions prior to the Ex-dividend date processed in time. If not, the broker must recover the dividend from the seller for you. Since the introduction of T+3 settlement, this seems to be a rarer event.