Why is the Company withdrawing the option to receive dividend payments by cheque?
M&S has for many years encouraged shareholders to have their dividends paid by direct credit rather than cheque as it is a more efficient, secure, and environmentally-friendly method of payment. Furthermore, our registrar, Equiniti, currently reissues around 12,000 payments a year to M&S shareholders who fail to cash their cheques before they expire, often incurring cheque reissue fees at the expense of the shareholder. As at June 2017, thousands of shareholders still had not cashed the cheques sent to them in respect of the previous two dividends in January 2017 and July 2016.
What is direct credit?
Direct credit is a commonly used means of payment whereby funds are transferred directly into the recipient’s bank account, rather than by providing a cheque that must subsequently be cashed. Over 147,000 investors in M&S already receive their dividend payments in this way.
Is direct credit a safe method of payment?
Direct credit is a more secure method of payment than cheques. It is used by most large organisations to pay, for example, employees’ salaries.
What are the advantages of direct credit?
With direct credit, dividends are automatically credited to your account as cleared funds on the day the dividend is paid, avoiding the delay associated with posting, depositing, and clearing cheques. It’s also safer because there is no risk of cheques being lost or stolen in transit (and the resultant cheque reissue fees). Finally, the reduction in printing, paper and postage supports the Company’s environmental objectives while also representing a cost saving.
What type of account can I have my dividends paid into?
You can have your dividends paid into any UK bank or building society account by direct credit.
What if I live outside the UK?
Although payment by direct credit can only be made into a UK bank account, you do not have to live in the UK and the account does not have to be your own; you can nominate a friend or relative’s account if you wish. If you would rather receive payments into an overseas account, you may be able to join the Overseas Payment Service provided by M&S’s registrar, Equiniti. The service is available to over 90 countries and there is a fee, but this is often less than paying a sterling cheque into a foreign bank account. For more information, visit shareview.co.uk/info/ops.
If I don’t receive a cheque, how will I know that my dividend has been paid?
You will be sent an annual consolidated dividend statement by post setting out details of all dividends paid to you in the previous twelve months. These statements are currently sent out in January each year. Alternatively, if you register for electronic communications at shareview.co.uk, you will be sent a notification by email on the day the dividend is paid.
What happens if I don’t provide my bank account details?
If you do not provide your bank or building society account details your dividend will be held in escrow by Equiniti on your behalf. You will still receive your annual dividend statement; however, you will not receive the money until your bank details are received, after which payment will be credited to your account as soon as possible. Please note that your dividends will not accrue interest while they are being held for you and there may be a fee for Equiniti to reissue payments.
How do I provide the registrar with my UK bank or building society details?
• By post: Simply complete the mandate form included with your July 2017 dividend cheque in the reply-paid envelope provided. • Online: You can provide and maintain your nominated account details via your Shareview Portfolio. Please visit shareview.co.uk for details on how to register. • By telephone: If you are a sole shareholder with 2,500 shares or fewer, you can provide your account details by calling M&S’s registrar, Equiniti, on 0345 609 0810 (from outside the UK, call +44 (0)121 415 7071). Lines are open 8:30am to 5:30pm (UK time), Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays in England and Wales).
Can I reinvest my dividends instead?
Instead of receiving dividend payments into your bank account, you may wish to build up your shareholding in M&S by using your dividends to purchase further M&S shares. The M&S Dividend Reinvestment Programme (‘DRIP’) is a convenient, easy and cost-effective way to do this. Visit shareview.co.uk/info/drip for more information and a DRIP application form. NOTE: If you are not eligible to join the DRIP, or you revoke your DRIP instruction, you will need to provide your bank or building society account details in order for future dividends to be paid to you.
What gives M&S the right to remove dividend cheques?
Under the Company’s articles of association, the directors have authority to determine the method by which the Company’s dividends are paid, including by direct credit. The directors believe that this change is in the best interests of both the Company and its shareholders.
Can I request that I continue to receive cheques?
No. From July 2018, M&S will no longer pay dividends by cheque.