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Dividend Strategy with Quality Yields – The Dow Jones Dividend 100 Indices

The S&P IPSA ESG Tilted Index: A New Benchmark for Measuring Sustainability in Chile

TalkingPoints: The Performance and Sector Diversification of the S&P BSE SENSEX 50

The S&P South Africa 50: Bringing Efficiency and Diversification to the South African Market

The S&P/ASX 200 ESG Index: Defining the Sustainable Core in Australia

Dividend Strategy with Quality Yields – The Dow Jones Dividend 100 Indices

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Izzy Wang

Analyst, Strategy Indices

INTRODUCTION

Dividend-paying stocks have been in focus over the past decade—many income seekers have turned away from low-yielding fixed income instruments and are looking to equity markets for a more attractive level of income.  However, high-yielding companies without strong financial stability may be prone to dividend cuts under the pressure from global economic uncertainties and future rising rates.  Thus, an investment strategy searching for high yield should focus on quality as well.

Among different kinds of income-focused equity indices in the market, the Dow Jones Dividend 100 Index Series takes a unique approach.  It seeks to track the performance of 100 high-dividend-yielding stocks in each market covered that have a record of consistently paying dividends, selected for solid fundamental strength.

S&P DJI launched the Dow Jones U.S. Dividend 100 Index in 2011.  Recently, we expanded the index series to international markets with the launch of the Dow Jones International Dividend 100 Index.  This paper investigates the following potential benefits of the Dow Jones Dividend 100 Indices.

  • Sustainable dividends with financial quality. The indices not only seek to track stocks with consistent dividend payouts, but they also apply a quality screen for the sustainability of yields.  They seek to achieve “quality yields” by requiring stocks to have paid dividends for a minimum of 10 consecutive years, and by ranking stocks by a composite score calculated from the cash-flow-to-total-debt ratio, return on equity (ROE), dividend yield, and five-year dividend growth rate.  In addition to the fundamental annual rebalancing, starting from July 2018, S&P DJI introduced a monthly dividend review as an on-going maintenance to ensure dividend sustainability.  Every month, stocks that have canceled their dividends will be removed from the indices.
  • Dividend growth against future rising rates. A focus on dividend growth in an environment where market participants are concerned about rising rates may be important.  Typically, high-yield equity strategies are biased toward rate-sensitive sectors, which tend to pay out higher yields because of the leverage that they can take on (mainly because of mature business models; e.g., Utilities).  Such entities are exposed when rates rise.  Selection based on dividend growth helps to ensure that firms that can develop their business and increase their payouts are favored in the selection process.  Such businesses are often well-managed companies, from both capital structure and operational perspectives.
  • Investability. Differentiating the Dow Jones Dividend 100 Indices from other dividend strategies are their strict size and liquidity screens and their weighting method, which is based on a modified market capitalization approach.  These attributes were chosen with the goal of increasing index investability in terms of liquidity, capacity, and turnover.  Size and liquidity screens could help to reduce the influence of smaller and more distressed stocks on the portfolio, leading to a liquid basket of constituents.  A weighting method based on modified market capitalization could not only help maximize the index capacity, but it also has potential to lead to a lower turnover than alternatively weighted income indices, that weight constituents primarily by yield or total dividends.

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The S&P IPSA ESG Tilted Index: A New Benchmark for Measuring Sustainability in Chile

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María Sánchez

Director, ESG Index Product Strategy, Latin America

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Cristopher Anguiano

Senior Analyst, U.S. Equity Indices

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Reid Steadman

Managing Director, Global Head of ESG & Innovation

INTRODUCTION

Indices that integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data are moving from the margins to the mainstream, as market participants increasingly seek to align their values with their investments.  A new type of ESG index is emerging to facilitate this change in Chile: the S&P IPSA ESG Tilted Index.  Jointly developed by S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) and the Santiago Stock Exchange (BCS or Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago), this index not only highlights strong ESG companies, it also enables allocation to such companies while aiming to limit major risks relative to the market.

THE EVOLUTION OF ESG INDICES

In 1999, S&P DJI launched the first global ESG index, the Dow Jones Sustainability™ World Index (DJSI World).  It includes the top 10% of companies, industry by industry, according to their ESG performance, as determined by the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) conducted by S&P Global.  This groundbreaking index encouraged companies to incorporate many ESG factors in their decisions, extending them beyond short-term financial considerations.

In the years that followed, other indices, including regional versions of the DJSI World such as the DJSI Emerging Markets, were launched with this same philosophy in mind: to highlight best-in-class companies and thereby inspire firms to improve their ESG approaches in order to qualify for inclusion in these indices.

Though these indices have been successful and have indeed inspired companies to change in positive ways, aspects of their methodologies may present challenges for many investors.  Some strategies can be too narrow for investors who want to remain broadly diversified.  Though many high-conviction market participants use the narrow, best-in-class indices for investment, we saw a need for ESG indices more in line with the broader market, while providing a more sustainable portfolio of companies.  

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TalkingPoints: The Performance and Sector Diversification of the S&P BSE SENSEX 50

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Ved Malla

Associate Director, Client Coverage

Dig deeper into how the index tracking the 50 largest and most liquid stocks in India seeks to deliver diversification by design.

1. Passive investment continues to gain traction in India. Could you tell us more about the themes and asset classes that have received attention in recent years, and how index innovations are contributing to that growth?

Ved: There has been a surge in growth of ETFs in recent years in India, mainly due to investments from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation flowing into ETFs. The past year has also witnessed a large increase in passive schemes being launched by mutual funds — about 30 new schemes were launched in the passive space last year in India, and many more have been filed for approval with the regulator. In the past financial year, the AUM of passive funds have increased by 90% to over 3 lakh crores. There has also been an increase in the interest in products on global indices. Some asset managers are now exploring this space eagerly for global diversification and product differentiation. The themes that are gaining interest in India are ESG, factors, thematics, and global index strategies.

2. How was the S&P BSE SENSEX 50 designed and why might the index matter to market participants in general?

Ved: The S&P BSE SENSEX 50 is designed to measure the performance of the top 50 largest and most liquid companies in India. The index constituents are weighted based on the float-adjusted market cap and must have a minimum annualized trading value of INR 10 billion. The S&P BSE SENSEX 50 is also a highly diversified and liquid index. The returns of the index have been promising over the past 10 years; its 10-year absolute return was 230%. The annualized returns for the 3-, 5-, and 10-year periods have also been promising, at about 15%, 16%, and 13%, respectively.

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The S&P South Africa 50: Bringing Efficiency and Diversification to the South African Market

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Michael Orzano

Senior Director, Global Equity Indices

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John Welling

Director, Global Equity Indices

INTRODUCTION

The S&P South Africa 50 is designed to represent the South African equity market by selecting 50 of the largest companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, including both South African and foreign-domiciled firms.  To reduce concentration risk, no company can account for more than 10% of the index weight at each rebalance.

In comparison with the often-used FTSE/JSE Top 40, the S&P South Africa 50 provides broader coverage and greater diversification, which contribute to its historically lower volatility and higher risk-adjusted returns.

EFFECTIVE CORE REPRESENTATION

Accessing the target market through a limited number of stocks is a hallmark of efficient investable indices.  The S&P South Africa 50 addresses the need for an efficient index for product tracking that remains representative of the characteristics of the broad market S&P South Africa Composite.

Exhibit 1 illustrates the historical returns of the S&P South Africa 50 against the backdrop of S&P South Africa Composite and the FTSE/JSE indices, which attempt to reflect a similar target universe.  The S&P South Africa 50 effectively captured the return profile of the broader market.

The S&P South Africa 50: Bringing Efficiency and Diversification to the South African Market Exhibit Chart 1

TIGHT TRACKING ERROR DEMONSTRATES CLOSE REPRESENTATION

The tight tracking of the indices and comparable history illustrate the ability of the S&P South Africa 50 to efficiently replicate the return profile of the broader South African equity market.  Since its inception,[1] the S&P South Africa 50 has delivered a relatively low tracking error of 1.9% per year against the broad market FTSE/JSE All Share, while the FTSE/JSE Top 40 posted a somewhat higher 2.0% tracking error against the same benchmark.

The inclusion of 10 additional stocks in the S&P South Africa 50 has contributed to its ability to represent the broad market.  The index covers over 94% of the float-adjusted market cap of the FTSE/JSE All Share, while the FTSE/JSE Top 40 accounts for a lesser 88%.

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The S&P/ASX 200 ESG Index: Defining the Sustainable Core in Australia

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Daniel Perrone

Director and Head of Operations, ESG Indices

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • The S&P/ASX 200 ESG Index is designed to align investment objectives with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values.
  • It can serve as a benchmark as well as the basis for index-linked investment products. Historically, the index’s broad market exposure and industry diversification has resulted in a return profile similar to that of the S&P/ASX 200.
  • The index uses the new S&P DJI ESG Scores (see page 4) and other ESG data to select companies, targeting 75% of the market capitalization of each GICS® industry group within the S&P/ASX 200.
  • The S&P/ASX 200 ESG Index excludes tobacco, controversial weapons, and companies with low UN Global Compact (UNGC) scores. In addition, those with S&P DJI ESG Scores in the bottom 25% of companies globally within their GICS industry groups are excluded.
  • Our methodology results in an improved composite ESG score compared with the S&P/ASX 200.

INTRODUCTION

Demand has increased for indices that are aligned with individual investment objectives and personal or institutional values.  The S&P/ASX 200 ESG Index was designed with both of these needs in mind.

The S&P/ASX 200 ESG Index is broad and constructed to play a central role in an investment strategy, unlike many ESG indices that have preceded it, which were thematic or narrow in their focus.  By targeting 75% of the S&P/ASX 200’s market capitalization, industry by industry, the S&P/ASX 200 ESG Index has historically offered industry diversification and a return profile in line with Australia’s leading benchmark.

Yet the composition of this new index is meaningfully different from that of the S&P/ASX 200 and more compatible with the values of ESG investors.  Exclusions are made related to tobacco, controversial weapons, and alignment with UNGC principles.  Furthermore, companies with low ESG scores relative to their industry peers around the world are also excluded.  The result is an index suitable for investors moving ESG from the fringe of their investment structure to center stage.

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