ex-dividend date is January 20th. my understanding is shares must be owned (settled) before then -- that is settled by the 19th of January. Settlement is 3 days so subtract 3 days from calendar (exclude weekends) and the answer is....
no wonder you changed your alias. time to admit your mistake. all you needed to do was find a definition of "ex-dividend date", but with the (fake) MBA and all, you figured you could define it any way you wanted. right?
"ex-dividend date is January 20th"
"my understanding is shares must be owned (settled) before then -- that is settled by the 19th of January."
No. Ex-dates are real-time dates. There is no settlement period for ex-dates. That's the very purpose of an ex-date - to account for settlement periods.
It's supposed to make it easy to know when you qualify for a distribution - buy before the ex-date, qualify; buy on or after the ex-date, don't qualify, but as we see over and over and over, no amount of simplification can defeat those who cannot comprehend.