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Digging into Historic Distribution Yields

If you're an ETF holder then you'll know about their distributions. Equities/stocks have dividends that they often provide to investors whereas for ETFs, the basket of equities and other holdings they have will see investors provided with distributions.

The monthly data from the ASX showcases distributions in a field called "Historical Distribution Yield". We asked for more detail on how that works and Martin Dinh, Senior Product Manager for the ASX Investment Products team told us a bit more about that.

The data comes from IRESS and we see some details here about the methodology

Methodology = sum of dividends over the last 12 months from the relevant date /last price for the last business day of the relevant month = historical yearly dividend (%)

Using VAS as an example (last share price at 30 June 2021 for VAS was $94.04):

So there you have the calculation. We can see that in the data in the ETFtracker app (HERE). In the app there is a Distribution Yield page and you can view this by ETF, ETF Category of ETF Thematic.

The chart on the top left shows the average distribution yield per ETF and you can filter to look at a particular month, here is June 2021 for example:

The bottom chart shows historic distribution yield each month and we can see the peaks in the month of June when most distributions get paid.

Additionally, we comapre the 1-month average total price returns versus the distribution yield

With all of the above you can filter for specific ETF types, issuers and other fields to see how these trends play out in those areas so go ahead and check it out.

If you're interested, you should check out the podcast Martin does with the ASX called the Ideas Exchange where they have 5 episodes so far with the most recent featuring Emilie O'Neill, Portfolio Manager for eInvest's IMPQ fund. Site link is here:

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