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05/28/2024 |

Understanding the Transition to T+1 Settlement Cycles: What Investors Need to Know

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Key Changes In Settlement Cycles

As of May 28, 2024, settlement cycles for stock trades and other securities in the U.S. will change from two days to one. This shift, known as T+1 (trading day plus one business day), aims to streamline and modernize the settlement process. For many investors, this may seem like a minor change, but it’s important to understand the transaction and settlement dates involved. The transaction date is when you execute a trade, while the settlement date is when the trade becomes official and payment is due.

Impact On Investors

Most investors may not notice a significant impact from this transition. Modern brokerage firms already require cash or adequate margin before entering securities orders, ensuring efficient settlement. The switch to T+1 mainly benefits those holding securities electronically, eliminating the rush to deliver paper certificates. However, investors should be aware that faster settlement cycles could influence future trading, portfolio, and tax strategies, requiring more timely decisions.

Specific Securities and Potential Effects

The T+1 change will affect stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, municipal securities, REITs, and MLPs traded on U.S. exchanges. Government bonds already settle at T+1. Investors using margin accounts should be cautious about margin interest, ensuring money market fund proceeds are available by settlement day. Additionally, the shorter settlement period means quicker cost-basis adjustments for tax purposes. It’s advisable for investors to consult with a qualified advisor to understand the full implications of this transition on their portfolios.