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What to Know About T Plus 1 Trade Settlement Thumbnail

What to Know About T Plus 1 Trade Settlement

Terry Herr, CFP®

On May 28, 2024, settlement cycles on U.S. stocks and other securities will shift from two business days to one. For most investors, this shift will have little or no impact. But it will affect some investors and certain types of transactions. It may be helpful to understand the basics of this important change.

T+1 vs. T+2

The trade date (T) is the day your order to buy or sell a security is executed. The settlement date is the day your order is finalized, and when the funds used to purchase the security and any sold securities must be delivered. Put simply, T+1 means most transactions will settle on the next business day after the trade.

For example, under the current T+2 protocol, if you sell shares of a stock on a Monday, the transaction would settle in two business days on Wednesday. Beginning on May 28, 2024, if you sell shares of a stock on a Monday, the transaction would settle in one business day on Tuesday.

Who Will T+1 affect?

T+1 will have minimal or no impact on most investors, because most brokerage firms require cash or sufficient margin in an account prior to the investor entering any orders to purchase securities in the account. However, if your brokerage firm allows you to make a purchase without sufficient funds in the account, under T+1 you will need to deliver a check or initiate a funds transfer so that the funds are deposited in your brokerage account no later than the next business day. 

Another potential effect of T+1 on some investors may be the tighter timeframe to deliver paper certificates for securities that are sold. This is rare today, because investors typically hold securities in their accounts electronically, and the shorter timeframe should not affect electronic transfers. However, if you do wish to sell a security for which you hold a paper certificate, you should be prepared to deliver it to the brokerage firm no later than the next business day after the trade is executed. 

Securities affected include stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds, certain mutual funds, municipal securities, real estate investment trusts, and master limited partnerships traded on U.S. exchanges. This change will not affect government bonds and options as their settlement is already set at T+1.

Establishing Accurate Cost Basis

When selling a security, any capital gains taxes are calculated using the security's cost basis, which is the initial amount invested plus any commissions or fees and reinvested dividends and distributions. Under most circumstances, the change to T+1 will have no effect on figuring cost basis. However, if you purchased a security through more than one brokerage firm, you would have one less day to provide information on the previous purchase(s) to your current firm. Once settlement is complete, your cost basis is established for tax purposes. The best practice is to make sure your current brokerage has full cost-basis information on any securities purchased at previous brokerages.

For more information, see IRS Publication 550, which offers detailed guidance on how to calculate cost basis under different circumstances.

Convenience and Close Attention

For some investors, one-day settlement may mean greater convenience. In effect, an investor will fully own a security one day sooner than under the current system. This could be helpful for an investor who wants to trade the security quickly or wants to participate in a proxy vote. However, T+1 will also require some investors to pay closer attention to how the shorter settlement time could affect investment, trading, or tax decisions.


This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions Copyright 2024. Used with permission.