In brief:

  • The famous US Dividend Aristocrats are a select group of S&P 500 stocks with 25+ years of consecutive dividend increases.
  • The UK Dividend Aristocrats Index is created by S&P and is based on a managed dividends policy of increasing or stable dividends for at least 10 consecutive years.
  • In Europe, it is not common to focus on paying a dividend in a row ( consecutive years) to the shareholders.
  • The UK Dividend Aristocrats Index gained 4.35% in December and finished 2021 up with a 14.83% total return.

Difference UK and US Dividend Aristocrats

The S&P 500 applies the following criteria to construct the US Dividend Aristocrats list:

  • must be members of the S&P 500
  • must have increased dividends every year for at least 25 consecutive years
  • Market Cap at least USD 3 billion
  • Liquidity at least USD 5 million (average daily value traded)
  • Diversification, at least 40 constituents and not sector allocation above 30%

The UK Dividend Aristocrats are based (by S&P) on the 40 highest dividend-yielding UK companies within the S&P Europe Broad Market Index (BMI) and a managed dividends policy of increasing or stable dividends for at least 10 consecutive years.

Next to the currencies (GBP vs USD), the two major differences are:

  • Increasing or stable dividends for at least 10 consecutive years vs 25 consecutive years (US)
  • 40 highest dividend-yielding (UK), in the US the height of the yield is not a selection factor.

Note: Due to COVID-19 and the above-mentioned criteria, the number of UK dividend aristocrats has been below 40 several times with a low (minimum) of 35 members.


UK Dividend Aristocrats changes mid-2021


In June 2021, S&P has announced an update to the Monthly Dividend Review (“MDR”) for the UK and high-yield euro dividend aristocrats.

A relevant change is to focus more on the quality of dividend. The Constituent Selection Rule is now:

“Stocks must have increased or maintained stable dividends for at least 10 consecutive years. Stocks cannot have an indicated yield of more than 10% as of the index rebalancing reference date. In addition, new index constituents must have a maximum 100% dividend payout ratio, and existing index constituents must have a non-negative dividend payout ratio”


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The Dividend UK Aristocrats Excel spreadsheet contains the following fundamental and stock price performance metrics for each stock in the index.

Fundamental metrics:

  • Dividend & earnings per share
  • Dividend Yield
  • Pay-out ratio

There is also a European Dividend Aristocrats list, which entails European stocks with 10+ consecutive years of dividend increases or stable dividends.

UK Dividend Aristocrats performance


In 2021, the UK Dividend Aristocrats index produced a total return of 14.83%. The annualized total return over 10 years is 6.19%. The indicated dividend yield is around 4.71% and the average projected PE is 14.1 for the stocks in this index.


Sector overview of the Dividend Aristocrats


As explained the UK Dividend Aristocrats Index currently contains 39 stocks. As you can see below, the Financial sector accounts for 30.3% of the index. IT-Sector is on the other end of the spectrum, with 3.1% of the European Dividend Aristocrats Index. To compare, the largest US dividend aristocrats sector is Consumer staples.


High Yield Dividend UK Stocks


The UK Dividend Aristocrats are based on the 40 highest dividend-yielding UK companies with increasing or stable dividends for at least 10 consecutive years. High yields are typically seen as a warning sign that dividends are unsustainable. For the UK stocks, one should keep in mind that dividend yields on (all) UK shares are at their highest level, on average 4.8%, since 2009. So the UK Dividend Aristocrats list will consist of many stocks above this average.

Dividends continue to grow even while investors have concerns over the trade war, Brexit, and interest rates. Rising profitability, more special dividends, and a weaker pound helped UK dividends rise 5.1% in 2018 to a record GBP 99.8bn. Forecasts for 2019 are even higher and expect the total dividends paid to GBP 104bn.


It will not be a surprise that the top-10 of the highest UK dividend aristocrats yields are well above 5% :


All 39 UK Dividend Aristocrats

Here are all 39 UK dividend aristocrats grouped by sector according to the criteria set by S&P.



Other Sources of Dividend Investment Ideas

There are several lists to quickly screen for businesses that regularly pay rising dividends.

Next to selecting the right dividend stocks, important principles for successful long-term investing are Disciple, Diversification, Defensive & indeed Dividend. Read more about this in our free e-book.

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