Dividend hero investment companies have grown their dividends to shareholders well ahead of inflation over the past five years, according to new data from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).
17 of the 18 dividend heroes (94%) have delivered compound annual dividend growth ahead of the UK Consumer Prices Index (CPI) over five years. The AIC dividend heroes are investment companies which have increased their dividends for 20 or more years in a row.
Income growth is similarly strong in the next generation of dividend heroes, investment companies which have grown dividends for ten or more consecutive years but fewer than 20. 22 of 24 (92%) investment companies in the next generation of heroes have delivered five-year dividend growth ahead of the CPI.
In the investment company equity income sectors, 100% of Asia Pacific Equity Income, 86% of Global Equity Income and 82% of UK Equity Income investment companies beat inflation.
Annabel Brodie-Smith, Communications Director of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “Inflation hasn’t been at the top of investors’ worry list for a long time. But with economies reopening quickly from the pandemic and a perception that central banks may be softening on keeping prices in check, it’s easy to see why investors are becoming more concerned. Investment companies’ ability to hold back up to 15% of their income each year in a revenue reserve gives them a huge advantage in delivering inflation-busting income to investors. This means they often have dividends to draw on in years where income would otherwise have fallen short, something investors were thankful for during the pandemic last year.”
Bruce Stout, Investment Manager of Murray International Trust, said: “Inflation is the silent assassin of wealth. Whilst sharp equity market declines and violent bouts of evaporating investor confidence may grab the news headlines and be recognised as instantaneous perpetrators of capital loss, the covert decay of spending power through prices rising faster than incomes seldom attracts much attention. And why should it? For the current investment generation brought up on a diet of debt, deflation and digital disruption, inflation arguably remains an alien concept. Confined to the history books alongside the dodo, mammoth and other extinct species, such belief not only appeared logical but also essential. How else could the current extended valuations of so-called growth assets, that thrive in deflationary circumstances, be justified?
“Yet contrary to expectations and inherent prejudice, global inflation appears to be alive and well. As the world emerges from the global COVID pandemic, failure of global supply chains to keep up with extraordinary pent-up demand has fanned the flames of inflation once again. For income focused investors, relying on real dividend growth to pay for the rising cost of living, these are increasingly anxious times. Truly globally diversified investment trusts focusing on delivering sustainable income growth from the underlying portfolio of investments offer an increasingly attractive option under such circumstances. Unburdened by geographical confines, sector restraints, asset class constrictions or benchmark obsessions, such trusts can invest anywhere to focus on companies truly committed to increasing dividend payouts and long-term wealth creation for shareholders. By investing wisely and globally, the world is truly becoming the oyster for sustainable real income growth.”