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Corporate actions

What happens when a company that you have shares in takes a corporate action

Corporate actions are actions taken by an organisation, that impact its investors and shareholders. They can include issuing new or additional shares, dividend payments, mergers and takeovers.

If you hold exchange-traded asset(s), such as shares, that are affected by a corporate action there may be decisions for you to take. 

Sometimes events will be mandatory, in which case, there is usually no action for you to take and we'll keep you informed of the outcome of the event. Other times, events are voluntary and there may be options or actions for you to take on your account. We explain these terms below. Usually the board of directors approves these actions before shareholders give their approval.

If there is a corporate action we'll notify you by email and ask you to log into your account to view the details. Once you're logged in, go to 'Manage investments' and 'Corporate actions'. We'll also send you information when we contact you, to help you make a decision.

Shares or cash may occasionally be issued as a result of corporate actions. In these cases, on or shortly after the ‘Effective date’ displayed on your Corporate action screen, your shares or money will be deposited into your Fidelity account. ‘Pay date’ is another term for this.

Categories of corporate actions

The main categories of corporate action are:

  • Mandatory -  this is an action started by the company's board of directors. Shareholders don’t have to act on these actions, but they’re affected as beneficiaries.
  • Mandatory with options – shareholders are given a choice of options.
  • Voluntary - this happens when shareholders opt to take part in an action. Here, the company can’t act without the shareholders' response.

Examples of corporate actions

Rights issues
Bonus issue
Mergers and acquisitions


Will Fidelity advise me on which election option to take on a corporate action?
Why is Fidelity’s closing date for responses on a corporate action earlier than the company registrar's deadline?
How do I pay for a corporate action where I've elected to subscribe to new shares?
What happens if I don’t respond to a corporate action by the closing date?
What happens if a company is delisted from a stock exchange?
What are suspended assets?

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