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Stocks T / Tidewater, Inc.


Subject:  Re: TDW DRiPs Date:  2/16/2000  10:17 PM
Author:  Patzer Number:  182 of 213

Hi, I hold only 112 shares of TDW and lately I have been receiving my dividend cheques in the mail. I don't understand this. I send the cheque back to them (Equiserve) explaining my DRiP Plan and they return my cheque with a letter saying something to the effect of a minimum investment of $25 to qualify for the Optional Cash Payment. But they have always reinvest my dividends back to buy more shares when I bought them back in 1998. Does anyone out there knows when this "minimum requirement" policy was implemented? If this is the case, then it makes no sense at all being part of the DRiP for small time investor who plans to build up a holding for the long term. Anyone...?

I don't participate in the TDW DRiP, so the following comments are pretty general. First, many DRiPs distinguish between dividends (which they will reinvest at any level) and Optional Cash Purchases (OCPs, for which they require a minimum payment.) It sounds like Equiserve interpreted your sending the dividend check as an OCP. Receiving a check for a dividend from a shareholder is probably not what fits into their normal routine.

The phenomenon of your receiving physical checks for dividends in the first place is a bit more puzzling. Some possibilities I can think of are 1) you sent back a form or talked to someone in investor relations and a misunderstanding resulted in a change in your dividend status, 2) a recordkeeping error at TDW or Equiserve resulted in changing your status by mistake, or 3) there has been some policy change as you suggest. To find out which, you should contact TDW investor relations. I haven't a clue how you find them, as their web site doesn't seem to mention how an existing or prospective investor would communicate with them. You've been a shareholder longer than I have; perhaps info on how investors should contact the company is in an old annual report.

If it's a recordkeeping problem, you get them to fix the records and your future dividends get reinvested properly. Chances are you would still have to send in an OCP to reinvest the dividends that came to you in the form of checks, and this payment would have to be greater than $25, etc. If it's a policy change, you have to think about whether the current policy (whatever it is) meets your needs and what you can do if it doesn't.

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