Fund Favorites for Global Income

09/25/2014 10:00 am EST

Focus: GLOBAL

In searching for high-dividend-paying stocks, we believe that investors can generate higher dividends with relative safety by investing in firms that tap both developed and developing countries, explains Bob Frick in Income Without Borders.

Two funds that fit the bill are WisdomTree Global Equity Income (DEW), an ETF with a 12-month trailing yield of 4.14%, and Henderson Global Equity Income (HFQAX), a fund with a 12-month yield of 5.83%.

These funds each represent a very different approach to seeking dividends. WisdomTree Global follows an index of WisdomTree's own devising; the  Henderson fund is actively managed; it follows a strict value strategy.

WisdomTree Global is based on screens for medium-to-large companies (at least $2 billion in market cap) from around the world that sit in the top 30% of dividend-yielding firms.

In the risk category, DEW is about as volatile as the average world stock fund, according to Morningstar. Its filter holds money invested in emerging markets to less than 20% of assets.

A little portfolio flavor: The United Kingdom is the country second to the US in DEW's holdings, at 13%—this makes  sense, as the UK has the top "country yield" DEW's top two sectors are financials and telecom.

On the expense front, the fund is a good deal. It charges 0.58% annually, which is less than half the average charge of actively managed international funds but slightly more than the average ETF's charge.

Don't expect this fund's price appreciation to blow away the average of worldwide stocks; after all, this ETF is all about yield. But its performance over time isn't bad. Its average annualized yield for five years is 9.8%.

Henderson Global Equity Income is an opportunistic fund: It will sell one holding on which it just collected a dividend and switch to another with a dividend due.

Given that foreign companies usually pay dividends only once or twice a year, and most of the fund's assets are in foreign companies, that's a good strategy. The Henderson fund pays dividends monthly and the WisdomTree ETF pays them quarterly.

Financials also lead the Henderson fund's largest holdings, at 19% of assets, followed by industrials (14%),and energy (13%). UK companies make up this fund's top holdings, at 42% of assets, with developed European countries at 18% and North America at 14%.

Fund managers Job Curtis and Alex Crooke, who are based in the UK, look for bargain-priced companies, explaining the fund's relatively low volatility. It is 24% less volatile than the average foreign value fund, its Morningstar category. It has about 85% of assets in foreign companies.

Expense-wise, it charges 1.22% annually. It has a 5.75% load, but some brokerage firms, such as TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab, waive the load.

You can expect that this fund's price will beat its foreign value benchmark in most years. It has a 10% average annualized yield for the last five years.

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