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With Treasury yields seemingly hitting new lows on a weekly basis, many investors have become desperate for higher levels of current income. This has pushed many into ETFs that have a focus on yield, such as junk bond funds, MLP products, and more ‘traditional’ equity exchange-traded securities. These include funds that zero-in on mainstays of the dividend world like utilities or firms that have a long history of raising their payouts over time.
Unfortunately, many of these products have become ultra-popular and thus crowded trades. In fact, from a year-to-date look, ETFs that promise high yields have dominated the fund flows reports, with products targeting bonds-- LQD , JNK, and HYG—preferred stock—(PFF - ETF report)—Mortgage-backed securities—MBB—and MLPs—(AMJ - ETF report)—all adding more than $1 billion dollars in assets since the start of 2012.
However, not all dividend-focused products have been created equal nor have they received the same amount of buzz. Instead, a number of products targeting high yield securities are still overlooked despite offering up sizable yields (read 11 Great Dividend ETFs).
Furthermore, many of the overlooked funds are in sectors which have modest correlation levels to the aforementioned segments, suggesting that these glossed-over products could also help from a diversification perspective as well.
With this backdrop and an increased focus on yield by many investors, we have highlighted three funds below which payout at least twice as much as the S&P 500, but have not received anywhere near the attention that many of their high yielding counterparts have. In fact, all three have less than $250 million in AUM, a paltry figure compared to what many of the aforementioned funds have pulled in just this year (see more in the Zacks ETF Center).
Hopefully this short list can give investors new ideas for ways to achieve higher levels of current income without too much of a focus on the recently popular segments, allowing for a more balanced portfolio overall. It could also demonstrate that there are more ways to achieve high payout levels than you might think, and that looking beyond the usual suspects can ‘yield’ a more well rounded approach to investing.
First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index (FGD - ETF report)
For a global look at high dividend yielding securities, investors can certainly look to FGD for overlooked exposure. The product tracks the Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index which looks to give exposure to about 100 stocks across a variety of markets around the globe.
However, the fund doesn’t just invest in 100 of the highest yielders, instead it looks to focus on companies that have a current year dividend-per-share greater than the trailing five year annual average while payout ratios must be less than 60% for American and European securities. By doing this, investors could gain exposure to a group of companies that are increasing their payouts but still have a nice buffer of safety (also read Can You Beat These High Dividend ETFs?).
With this focus, the fund has a tilt towards large cap and value securities from around the world. Sectors favor the usual suspects, with telecoms, utilities, and financials taking up the top three spots. In terms of countries, Australia, the U.S., and the UK take the top three and account for nearly 45% of the portfolio.
As of right now, the product pays out a very solid 5.8% to investors in 30 Day SEC yield terms. Still, the fund has under $185 million in AUM, suggesting that the fund isn’t the most popular although it does have reasonable volume but somewhat high expenses at 60 basis points a year.
Guggenheim S&P Global Dividend Opportunities Index ETF (LVL - ETF report)
For another global fund with a high yield, investors also have Guggenheim’s LVL to consider. The product tracks the S&P Global Dividend Opportunities NR Index, a benchmark that consists of 100 stocks and ADRs that have at least $1 billion in market cap and are also high yielders.
Thanks to this and the product’s focus on dividend yield weighting, assets are pretty well spread out while mid and small caps make up a good chunk of assets as well. In fact, large caps account for just 37% of the portfolio, although it should be noted that more than half of the fund is in value stocks (also see Three Excellent Dividend ETFs for Safety and Income).
For sectors, telecom accounts for nearly one-fourth of the total, while energy and consumer cyclical stocks round out the top three, just beating out financials and real estate. Country exposure is tilted towards the U.S. in the top spot, although the UK and Australia again round out the top three followed by French and German securities to finish off the top five.
This product also charges 60 basis points a year in fees, but has slightly lower volume of about 30,000 shares a day. However, the yield on this product comes in at 8.8% in 30 Day SEC terms, crushing many other products in the space even though the total AUM is still stuck below $50 million.
PowerShares KBW High Dividend Yield Financial Portfolio (KBWD - ETF report)
If investors want a more concentrated play on a particular high yielding sector, KBWD could be the way to go in the financial space. The product uses a dividend yield weighting methodology and holds roughly 36 securities in its basket, focusing in on financial service companies including BDCs, REITs, insurance, and banking firms.
The product also potentially provides a different market cap level of exposure as large caps account for just 10% of the total assets. Instead, micro caps make up roughly 29% while small caps make up nearly half of the total portfolio (see Three Impressive Small Cap Dividend ETFs).
Investors should also note that the product is entirely focused on American securities, while growth stocks only make up 9% of the assets. This means that strong returns may be hard to come by and that the yield will have to be the focus for those seeking to bet on this fund.
Once again, this fund isn’t exactly popular with investors either as the AUM for the fund is just $115 million. However, the product does charge a rather high 1.32% a year, a level that may be prohibiting some from taking a closer look at the fund. Still, the 30 Day SEC yield comes in at nearly 9%, while the trailing 12 month payout tops 10%, implying that it could truly be a great destination for investors searching for an overlooked high yielder.
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