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Written by Logan Robison on November 25, 2020
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Here's How Fractional Shares Work On Robinhood

Fractional shares have forever changed the investing landscape. Now small, retail investors have just as much power as large institutional investors. How is this possible? Before the advent of fractional shares, smaller investors simply couldn’t afford to purchase certain shares. But with fractional shares, stocks listed at $300,000, like Berkshire Hathaway’s Class A shares, can now be bought for $0.30.

Now, so there’s no confusion, it’s called a fractional share for a reason. Investors who use this method only own a portion of the stock, not the whole thing.

Robinhood is one of the many firms that have heavily focuses on offering fractional shares to their investors.  In addition to fractional shares, Robinhood is known for being one of the first commission- and fee-free brokerages. No account minimums combined with no fees make Robinhood one of the most popular trading platforms around.

In fact, it’s been reported that Robinhood has over 13 million active user accounts. That is a lot of hungry investors ready chomping at the bit for fractional shares.

So, we will be explaining exactly how these fractional shares work and what you should expect as a Robinhood investor.

What Are Fractional Shares?

"Fractional share" is not just a fancy term that indicates something misleading. It is in fact, very straightforward. A fractional share is indeed a partial share of a company. This is great because when the company does well, that fractional share will experience the growth. However, it will also experience the downside of every drop in stock price.

Purchasing fractional shares through a brokerage account such as Robinhood is not the only way to obtain fractional shares. When a company has a reverse split of its stock, its investors often receive only fractional shares depending on their ownership. However, if this is the case while investing in Robinhood, you'll receive the cash equivalent of any fractional (non-whole) share amounts resulting from the split in lieu of shares.

Fractional shares are also granted when investors are involved in a DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment Plan). In this situation, if you have opted to reinvest a dividend received, that dividend will be used to purchase a share in proportion to the dollar amount received and the current stock price.

Understanding Risk

Fractional shares do not decrease your risk exposure to one particular stock. It does, however, decrease your risk if by purchasing fractional shares you are more diversified. Do not be under the false assumptions that if you only buy half of a stock that you will be protected from market corrections.

This is only true in the sense that your portfolio will be better safeguarded if you spread your wealth amongst several stocks instead of spending your money on just one. This is another great reason to use fractional shares because it allows you an easier way to be diversified in your portfolio

For you to be successful as an investor, it is crucial that you are involved in many different companies, industries, and markets. If one company goes down, your financial dreams will not be derailed.

What Is Robinhood?

Robinhood, the classic investment app without account minimums or commissions was founded in 2013 and is the parent of this new investing era. Robinhood believes investing shouldn’t be an activity for the elite. Instead, it should be available and accessible to everyone.

However, this doesn’t mean that Robinhood skimped on their investing features. Robinhood is known to have one of the cleanest looking apps. Users love Robinhood’s interface because it contains the right amount of data that the average investor will need before he/she dumps their cash.

Robinhood features incredible app functionality and a clean design. In addition, this platform offers now-standard features like no account minimums and no commission fees, while also pioneering with options, margin investing, and cryptocurrency.

Robinhood Fractional Shares

With Robinhood, you can buy fractions of whole shares if the going rate is just too high. The amount of ownership you have of one stock will be in proportion to the amount of money you paid for the stock. For instance, if you paid 10% of the selling price, then you will own 10% of 1 share.

Because fractional shares are quite a popular feature, Robinhood has enacted some restrictions that investors should be aware of before jumping in.

Restrictions

Investors should know that with Robinhood they can purchase a fractional share as small as 1/1,000,000th of a share. That makes Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares worth a cool $300,000 accessible for as little as $0.30.

However, Robinhood has a minimum transaction of $1.

Fractional shares with Robinhood are also only available as good-for-day (GFD) market orders. This means that if the market is closed, the transaction will not be completed.

Not all stocks are available for fractional shares. In fact, Robinhood requires that the company have a market cap of at least $25M. This won’t be hard to do especially if the stocks you are wanting to split are expensive.

No need to do your research beforehand on this point. Robinhood will tell you that the fractional share purchase is not possible before the purchase order is submitted.

Dividends/Voting Rights

You might be curious about your rights as a holder of fractional shares. In terms of votes and dividends, you will still be eligible to participate, but of course, the percentages hold true. You will receive a fraction of the dividends as you only own a fraction of the stock. The same holds for voting rights.

Transferring Fractional Shares

Transfers are trickier with fractional shares. Robinhood explicitly states that they will not transfer fractional shares. If you initiate a transfer out of Robinhood, your assets will be sold, and you will receive the resulting cash.

This only applies to a full transfer. If you only are intending to transfer a portion of your portfolio is Robinhood, then your fractional shares will remain in the same state.

robinhood interface

Conclusion: Robinhood Fractional Share Investing

In summary, fractional shares are an amazing tool that Robinhood (and many others) offer to the investor community. When it makes sense with your goals and portfolio, you should absolutely use them to your advantage.

There are several brokerage firms that offer fractional shares so be sure to do your research before picking a platform. Just because one account offers fractional shares does not necessarily mean that is the correct platform for you.

All things considered, Robinhood is a great platform for these reasons listed above and many more. If you are interested in learning more about what else Robinhood has to offer check out our full Robinhood review here.

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robinhood fractional shares explained
Article written by Logan Robison
Logan graduated with a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and currently works as a financial analyst for a large retailer. His love for personal finance inspired him to start a YouTube channel, Finance for Normals, where he hopes to give everyday people the basic finance knowledge they need to succeed.

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