• Dates for my bank manager’s diary!

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    Many or most people have a daily routine.

    For me, after getting out of bed, attending to the necessary and breakfast, I plug in a telephone bell into the socket so I can hear the land-line ‘phone if it rings, switch on the computer and after the device had loaded up, open the email client programme which downloads any emails. I then open the web browser and select the “bookmark” for Google Finance which gives “real time” prices on the London Stock Market and my “watch-list” which for me comprises companies in which I have shares.

    When I saw the price of Royal Dutch Shell “B” shares, my comment was made in the knowledge that there were no ladies within earshot!

    If this situation continues and the “B” SP does not pick up I am looking at an awkward situation. This because although I have not been so foolish to put all my eggs in one basket, I have – for reasons given in earlier posts – five baskets, these being (in alphabetical order): Dunedin Income Growth Investment Trust, Lloyds Bank, Phoenix Group, Royal Dutch Shell and SSE. Of these five, two baskets are large these being Phoenix Group and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS).

    You now see my problem!

    The 4th quarter 2019 RDS dividend will be paid this coming Monday so there is no issue about this. However the dividends for 1st quarter, 2nd quarter and 3rd quarter 2020 have yet to be announced; the dates for these being; Thursday 30th April, Thursday 30th July and Thursday 29th October.

    There are the following possibilities:

    #1: Nothing will change and RDS will continue to pay 47.00¢ per share in cash for these three quarters.
    #2: RDS will cut the dividend (reduce the payment).
    #3: RDS will cease paying dividends for a stated period.

    There is however a 4th possibility: RDS will continue to pay 47.00¢ per share for these three quarters – but in the form of a script issue.

    Shareholders presented with this situation have two choices:

    #1: Sell the script issue shares to obtain the cash.
    #2: Retain the script issue.

    Unless held within an ISA, doing either will incur a tax liability as HMRC regard both as dividend income.

    Presented with this hypothetical situation – IF my finances permit – I will retain the script issue with the intention of selling said shares when the prices are back in the >£20 territory and not the <£10 territory they are in at present!

    Is it not ironic that the old curse, “May you live in interesting times” is said to come from the same place as COVID-19?

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