ADR Fees: 10 Important Things To Know

American investors in foreign stocks known as American Depository Receipts(ADR) have to be aware of a fee called ADR fees. I wrote about this fees a while ago. Below are some five points to remember about ADR fees.

1.Can you avoid paying ADR fees?

Nope, An ADR holder cannot avoid paying this fees in any way. Regardless of the type of account and shares owned this fees has to be paid.

2.Who charges this fees?

The issuer of the ADR such as BNY Mellon charges this fees for maintaining records and other tasks.

3.How should you pay the ADR fees?

If dividends are paid by a security the issuer will automatically deduct the fees from the dividend payments. If a stock does not pay dividends the fees will be charged to the holder. In this case, the you broker will deduct this amount from the cash portion of your portfolio. So always ensure there is some cash in the account to cover any such fees.

4.When is an ADR fee charged?

Timing differs from one ADR to another.Usually it is only once per year. For dividend paying stocks it will be charged at the time of payment. For non-dividend payers it may be any time of the year.

5.How much is the ADR fee?

Depositories charge different amounts of fees for each ADR. For example, the ADR fee for Westpac Banking(WBK), a bank in Australia, was $0.005 cents per ADR. This is a very small amount.

For Ecopetrol(EC) of Colombia the ADR fee mostly recently was $0.04 per ADR. So for 100 shares that amounts to $4.

6.Is the ADR fee charged for all ADRs?

Nope. For some ADRs the custodians may not charge the fee. For example, Citibank, the depository for Autoliv(ALV) of Sweden does not charge this fee.

7.Is there a complete list of all ADRs and their fees?

Yes. The custodians of ADRs maintain the list of ADRs by country and the fees applicable. Check out the below links to check if your ADR has the fee:

8.Is ADR fee charged on Canadian stocks?

No. Canadian stocks are not ADRs. So this fee is not charged for any Canadian stock.

9.Are ADR fees tax deductible?

Unfortunately no for most holders. As the name implies it is not a tax like the dividend withholding tax. So it is not tax deductible.

10.What is the impact of ADR fees on returns?

Since this fee is deducted from an investor’s account – either from dividends or cash balances – it negatively impacts the overall returns on an equity investment. For instance, a $4 from a $100 dividend payment may seem small but it is still $4 lost. If you are enrolled in dividend reinvestment this $4 loss will reduce the number of new shares bought. Over many years the effect of compounding lost due to this $4 loss would not be minimal.

In addition, if an ADR does not pay a dividend then the fee is deducted from cash balances. This will not only reduces the interest that can be earned on the amount but also reduces the ability to deploy such cash when an opportunity arises.

Earlier:

Disclosure: Long WBK, EC, ALV

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