For individual investors in the UK

Global dividends reached new record in 2021

Jane Shoemake, ASIP

Jane Shoemake, ASIP

Client Portfolio Manager

9 Mar 2022

The latest edition of the Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index shows that global dividends made a strong recovery in 2021, more than making up for the cuts that occurred during the worst of the pandemic in 2020. Client Portfolio Manager Jane Shoemake discusses the rebound and explains why we have upgraded our forecast for 2022.

Key Takeaways

  • Global dividends shrugged off 2020’s COVID-19 cuts and reached a new record in 2021, surging to $1.47 trillion.
  • The rebound was largely driven by the mining sector and restored dividends, especially from banks, and led by the UK and Australia. Nine-tenths of companies raised or held dividends, indicating broad-based growth.
  • The exceptional strength of Q4 payout figures, along with improved prospects for 2022, have led us to upgrade our forecast for the full year. In 2022, we expect global dividends to reach a new record of $1.52 trillion.
View Transcript Expand

Jane Shoemake: 2021 saw global dividends make a strong recovery. They surged 14.7% on an underlying basis, reaching a new record of $1.47 trillion, a touch ahead of our forecast. Headline growth of 16.8%, boosted by record one-off special dividends. By the end of the year, global payouts had recovered all the ground lost in 2021 and were 1.9% above their pre-pandemic high.

Nine out of 10 companies either held or raised their dividends. But the rebound in growth was driven by just a few companies, geographies and sectors. In geographical terms, growth was fastest in those parts of the world that had seen the biggest declines in 2020. One-third of the 2021 increase came from just two countries – Australia and the UK – with the US, China, Sweden and emerging markets also reaching new highs.

From a sector perspective, more than one-quarter of the increase came from miners, which benefited from soaring commodity prices. They delivered record payouts, almost twice the previous high registered in 2019. The payouts were so large that BHP became the world’s top dividend payer.

Companies restarting dividend payments that were paused during 2020 also proved important. Banks, whose dividends jumped by 40%, or $50.5 billion, reached a level just one-tenth lower than their 2019 peak. In fact, a quarter of 2021’s dividend growth came from just nine companies, eight of which were either banks or miners.

Download our global dividend index for the full picture.


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Emerging market investments have historically been subject to significant gains and/or losses. As such, returns may be subject to volatility.

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Past performance does not predict future returns. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested.


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Jane Shoemake, ASIP

Jane Shoemake, ASIP

Client Portfolio Manager

9 Mar 2022