Some say that equity markets are “risky.” In today’s world investors can buy 10-year Canada bonds yielding less than 2%. Given inflation in Canada which averages between 2% and 3%, it seems to us that bonds are incredibly “risky.” This is because after the effects of inflation an investor would be guaranteed a loss of purchasing power over 10 years. For a taxable investor the situation is even worse as the government will take up to 50% of your 2% yield, thereby making the total loss of purchasing power over the 10-year term even worse. A Leon Frazer portfolio, on the other hand, has a higher (dividend) yield than a 10-year bond.
Over the long-term, companies that pay and grow dividends significantly outperform the broader market, with the added bonus of also being less volatile. A sustainable growing dividend limits downside to a stock during periods of market panic and provides a consistent signal of progress as time passes. According to our research, over the past three decades, 73% of Canadian stock market performance can be explained by the increases in the underlying dividends.
Fortis Inc., the Newfoundland-based utility company, is one of the largest and longest standing holdings in all Leon Frazer portfolios owing to its exemplary record for increasing dividends. For 40 straight years, Fortis has increased its annual dividend every year, building a perfect “dividend staircase.” Over time the stock price has little choice but to follow the dividend upward. We attempt to build Leon Frazer portfolios with as many of these “dividend staircases” as possible.