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Rising dividends in falling markets

16 March 2020

The investment company dividend heroes.

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has published the latest list of its 21 dividend heroes, the investment companies which have consistently increased their dividends for 20 or more years in a row. In these tough market conditions and with interest rates falling, the reliability of income streams is even more important.

Four dividend heroes have raised their dividends consistently for over half a century. City of London Investment Trust, Bankers Investment Trust and Alliance Trust lead the way with 53 years of consecutive rises. Caledonia Investments follows close behind with 52 years of increases.

A further seven heroes have increased their dividends for 40 or more years in a row and another five have done so for more than 30 consecutive years.

So far in 2020, seven dividend heroes have announced a further year of increases. Today F&C Investment Trust announced its 49th annual increase and last week Witan Investment Trust announced its 45th. At the beginning of March, Alliance Trust announced its 53rd consecutive increase. In February, Brunner Investment Trust (48th), Scottish American (40th) and Temple Bar (36th) announced increases and Bankers Investment Trust announced its 53rd annual increase in January.

Annabel Brodie-Smith, Communications Director of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “With the market turmoil of the past few weeks, it’s comforting to know that the 21 dividend heroes have been raising their dividends through thick and thin for decades. City of London, Bankers and Alliance have increased their dividends for an impressive 53 straight years. To put this in perspective, this means they have been increasing their dividends every year since the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Whilst there’s no guarantee, the fact investment companies can save up to 15% of their income each year has helped them to carry on raising dividends through such intense market downturns as the 1987 crash, the dot com bubble bursting and the financial crisis. With the difficulties facing markets at the moment, the power of investment companies to deliver rising dividends is reassuring for investors.”

Alex Crooke, Fund Manager of The Bankers Investment Trust, said: “Being a global investment trust and having revenue reserves are great advantages to maintain and continue the legacy of The Bankers Investment Trust’s 53 years of consecutive dividend growth. Our global reach means access to more areas of growth when certain sectors or countries stumble and the revenue reserve enables the trust to hold back some income in the strong years of corporate dividend growth to pay out in leaner ones. We recognise the importance of delivering a reliable and growing income to shareholders and over recent years have built the revenue reserves to cope with the fluctuations of currencies or the need to prioritise asset allocation decisions towards lower yielding markets.”

The key to the dividend heroes’ success is investment companies’ income advantage. Unlike open-ended funds, investment companies can hold back up to 15% of the income they receive from their portfolio each year and tuck it into a revenue reserve. This rainy-day pot means investment companies can save income in good years to boost dividends in leaner ones, enabling them to consistently raise dividends through thick and thin.

Investment company dividend heroes at 16 March 2020

Company

AIC sector

Number of

consecutive

years dividend

increased

Yield at 13/03/2020

City of London Investment Trust

UK Equity Income

53

6.0

Bankers Investment Trust

Global

53

2.6

Alliance Trust

Global

53

2.2

Caledonia Investments

Flexible Investment

52

2.3

BMO Global Smaller Companies

Global Smaller Companies

49

1.6

F&C Investment Trust

Global

49

2.0

Brunner Investment Trust

Global

48

2.9

JPMorgan Claverhouse Investment Trust

UK Equity Income

46

5.2

Murray Income

UK Equity Income

46

5.0

Witan Investment Trust

Global

45

3.2

Scottish American

Global Equity Income

40

3.4

Merchants Trust

UK Equity Income

37

7.2

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust

Global

37

0.6

Scottish Investment Trust

Global

36

4.8

Temple Bar

UK Equity Income

36

6.1

Value & Income

UK Equity Income

32

6.1

BMO Capital & Income

UK Equity Income

26

4.7

British & American

UK Equity Income

24

27.6

Schroder Income Growth

UK Equity Income

24

5.9

Invesco Income Growth

UK Equity Income

22

5.2

Perpetual Income & Growth

UK Equity Income

20

6.8

Source: AIC/Morningstar.

Full dividend information on each investment company is available on the AIC’s website: www.theaic.co.uk. The website shows each investment company’s revenue reserve. This is the income which has been retained by an investment company which can be used to support dividends in more difficult years. The website also shows each investment company’s dividend cover. This shows how many years the current revenue reserve could pay the investment company’s last full financial year of dividends.

The AIC’s website also has Income Finder, a suite of tools and resources to help income-seeking investors research investment companies. Investors can build a virtual portfolio of income-paying investment companies, track dividend dates and see how much income they could have received over a year.

-Ends-

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Notes

  1. The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) was founded in 1932 to represent the interests of the investment trust industry – the oldest form of collective investment.  Today, the AIC represents a broad range of closed-ended investment companies, incorporating investment trusts and other closed-ended investment companies and VCTs. The AIC’s members believe that the industry is best served if it is united and speaks with one voice. The AIC’s mission statement is to help members add value for shareholders over the longer term. The AIC has 362 members and the industry has total assets of approximately £196 billion.
  2. Disclaimer: The information contained in this press release does not constitute investment advice or personal recommendation and it is not an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity. You should seek independent financial and, if appropriate, legal advice as to the suitability of any investment decision. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.  The value of investment company shares, and the income from them, can fall as well as rise.  You may not get back the full amount invested and, in some cases, nothing at all.
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Media enquiries

Annabel Brodie-Smith
Communications Director
Tel: 020 7282 5580
annabel.brodie-smith@theaic.co.uk
@annabelbrodies
@aicpress

Elmley de la Cour
Communications Manager
Tel: 020 7282 5583
elmley.delacour@theaic.co.uk
@aicpress

William Sanderson
Communications Executive
Tel: 020 7282 5584
william.sanderson@theaic.co.uk
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