15 Dividend UCITS ETFs for Europeans (incl. SCHD alternatives?)

It’s not just dividend withholding tax that makes it hard to be a European dividend investor. Unfortunately, we are also lacking access to many popular and great Dividend ETFs like the ones from Vanguard ($VIG) or Schwab ($SCHD).

Nevertheless, we don’t give up!

That’s why I would like to share with you today my thoughts about several of the 15 dividend UCITS ETFs that I studied over the last few weeks. And the good news is: all of these should be accessible to you as a European dividend investor.

But before we get started, it’s important to understand my approach to analyzing Dividend UCITS ETFs. It’s actually not that much different compared to my approach to individual stock picking. Because in the end, it’s important to me that my investments work for me in a compounding manner.

That’s why I prefer to see an attractive dividend yield (> 2.75%) and a year-over-year growing dividend. Ideally, the dividend yield plus the 5-year dividend compounded annual growth rate exceeds the chowder rule of 12.

I’m not sure if this is realistic to ask from a Dividend UCITS ETF, but let’s have a look at the below visual!

15 Dividend UCITS ETFs plotted according to the chowder rule for total dividend return

There are 3 Dividend UCITS ETFs that meet the Chowder rule criteria in their native form according to my analysis. These are:

  • $SEDY – iShares EM Dividend UCITS ETF
  • $USDV – SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats UCITS ETF
  • $TDIV – VanEck Vectors Ms Developed Markets Dividend Lead

Might those be great SCHD alternatives (Schwab US Dividend Equity ETF)?

The other two have a catch to them because they exist for less than 5 years. Hence, their compounded annual dividend growth rate is still subject to further evidence which should come with time.

Having said that, let’s start with having a look into these 3 Dividend UCITS ETFs which exceeded the chowder rule >= 12 criteria.

iShares Emerging Markets Dividend UCITS ETF

Ticker$SEDYDividend Yield9.81%
ISINIE00B652H904Total Expense Ratio0.65%
ProvideriSharesPayout FrequencyQuarterly

The iShares EM Dividend UCITS ETF is one of the more expensive Dividend ETFs in this article. A total expense ratio of 0.65% is really expensive, especially when you realize how much of a compounding impact this can have on your future performance. Hence, this better be an excellent dividend growth ETF so that it justifies its expense rate.

So first of all, as dividend growth investors, we like to see dividend growth.

iShares EM Dividend UCITS ETF – Dividend History | note: 2022 is 3 dividend payments to date, 4th will come in December

And here is where the fun stuff starts, because the chowder rule looks at it from a 5-year compounded annual growth rate. And what we can clearly see here is that taking 2016 or 2017 as a basis for calculation is actually misleading. Investors in this dividend ETF have also experienced a ~25% dividend cut during the midst of the pandemic. I really wouldn’t get happy from this if I would have to rely on this ETF from an income point of view.

So what we observe here are unreliable dividend payments when looking at it from a dividend growth point of view. This tells me that this dividend ETF is not really fit for dividend growth-oriented investors.

And honestly, I’m even more strengthened in my opinion when I see the top 10 companies in this list that are in total 22.5% of the total index.

  • Colbun machicura sa – 3,04%
  • Unipar carbocloro sa pref b – 2,89%
  • Jhsf participacoes sa – 2,27%
  • Cpfl energia sa – 2,19%
  • Metalurgica gerdau pref sa – 2,18%
  • Coal india ltd – 2,03%
  • Exxaro resources ltd – 1,97%
  • Empresas cmpc sa – 1,74%
  • Cteep companhia de transmissao de – 1,70%
  • Cia energetica de minas gerais pre – 1,68%

Honestly, there’s nothing in this list that I’d personally like to own as an individual stock based on a quick screen I did.

On the other hand, if you feel that 87 cents per year are a floor, then this ETF could give you a minimum 6.85% dividend yield after the deduction of the expense ratio.

You would just need to accept dividend cuts to be part of the game. In return, you will get a dividend that is still 2 times higher than the average yield of Dividend ETFs in this post.

SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats ETF

Ticker$USDV / $LON:UDVDDividend Yield2.27%
ISINIE00B6YX5D40Total Expense Ratio0.35%
ProviderSPDRPayout FrequencyQuarterly

The SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats UCITS ETF has a title that sets really high expectations for us as dividend investors. This especially holds true when reading their prospectus:

The S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index is comprised of the stocks of the S&P Composite 1500® Index that have increased dividends every year for at least 20 consecutive years. These stocks have both capital growth and dividend income characteristics, as opposed to stocks that are pure yield, or pure capital oriented.
Source: USDV prospectus

So far so good and it sounds like we might have an SCHD alternative in our hands!

But I must say, the total expense ratio is still relatively high when comparing it to its US equivalent $VIG from Vanguard. Unfortunately, such ETFs are not accessible to us as European investors. On the other hand, a 0.35% TER is kind of average for the Dividend ETFs listed in this article.

The dividend yield is also relatively low at 2.27%, because I have a minimum dividend stock screener criteria of 2.75%. Anything below that threshold must have really awesome double-digit growth prospects before I would get excited about it.

But maybe that’s where $USDV shines because it has a 5-year Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.31%.

SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats UCITS ETF – Dividend History | note: 2022 is 3 dividend payments to date, a 4th will come in December

As you can see in the chart above, the dividend ETF nearly doubled its dividend payout since 2016. Besides that, it didn’t see any drop in its dividend distributions during 2020 which is really a sign of strength.

What is also worth mentioning is their top 10 holdings:

  • V.F. Corporation – 2,12%
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. – 2,05%
  • National Retail Properties Inc. – 1,90%
  • International Business Machines Corporation – 1,83%
  • 3M Company – 1,82%
  • Realty Income Corporation – 1,74%
  • Franklin Resources Inc. – 1,73%
  • Federal Realty Investment Trust – 1,67%
  • Leggett & Platt Incorporated – 1,63%
  • UGI Corporation – 1,53%

This top 10 makes up ~18% of the total index which tells me that it’s quite well diversified. At the same time, it consists of many classic dividend growth companies that some of you will own as well. Actually, I own $MMM and $O from this list.

Also, I see no reason why this Dividend Aristocrat ETF wouldn’t continue to grow its dividends over the next decade going forward. Their strategy is a pure-play dividend growth strategy and it fits very well with us as dividend growth investors.

All in all, I could definitely own this Dividend ETF, but not at this price. I would first like to see it drop towards a 2.75% dividend yield before considering a position in it.

This also means that for me it isn’t a good fit for a monthly dollar-cost-averaging strategy due to the relatively low dividend yield.

However, I would say that this is a really good VIG alternative or SCHD alternative.

VanEck Vectors Ms Developed Markets Dividend Lead

Ticker$TDIVDividend Yield5.86%
ISINNL0011683594Total Expense Ratio0.38%
ProviderVan EckPayout FrequencyQuarterly

VanEck Vectors Ms Developed Markets Dividend Lead ETF exists since 2016. The fund aims to closely track the performance of the Morningstar® Developed Markets Large Cap Dividend Leaders Index™.

This index is focused on total-return investors who are also interested in dividend income. The criteria of the index are listed below:

These are relatively good criteria for a dividend ETF focused on total return. The criteria allow for relatively high-yielding companies without raising too many red flags regarding dividend safety.

And this is also visible in the dividend growth performance of the index. The ETF yields 5.8% which is one of the highest-yielding dividend UCITS ETFs which I analyzed.

However, it must be noted that their June dividend payment was 93 cents alone. It looks like this was an outlier, so some caution on taking the current yield at face value is warranted.

VanEck Vectors Ms Developed Markets Dividend Lead – Dividend History | note: 2022 is 3 dividend payments to date, a 4th will come in December.

Having said that, the impact of the ETF criteria results also in relatively flat and unreliable dividend growth. What we can also see is the impact of the 2020 pandemic due to the ~20% dividend cut which investors had to take on the chin.

If you are looking for a decent-yielding dividend UCITS ETF with international exposure then I would personally give preference to iShares Emerging Markets Dividend UCITS ETF. At least you get a 9%+ dividend yield which is similar to being unreliable in dividend growth like this one.

On the other hand, I much prefer the top 10 stocks in this ETF:

  • Exxon Mobil – 5.97%
  • AbbVie – 4.78%
  • Verizon – 3.96%
  • Novartis – 3.73%
  • TotalEnergies – 3.35%
  • Altria Group – 3.06%
  • Rio Tinto – 2.95%
  • IBM – 2.94%
  • Bnp Paribas – 2.92%
  • British American Tobacco – 2.71%

Together they form ~36% of the index.

In conclusion, the current Chowder score looks a bit misleading for this ETF if you think about extrapolating this into the future. Nevertheless, it has good quality top 10 in holdings which might give you the international exposure that you’re looking for.

These were the top 3 dividend UCITS ETF ‘s based on the Chowder rule. But as mentioned before, there are still 2 other Dividend UCITS ETFs that have a high Chowder rule score. Let’s just have a look into them as well, because they start to look very promising.

Fidelity US Quality Income ETF (USD)

Ticker$FUSDDividend Yield2.38%
ISINIE00BYXVGX24Total Expense Ratio0.25%
ProviderFidelityPayout FrequencyQuarterly

The Fidelity US Quality Income UCITS ETF only exists since 2016 and it is focused on US dividend-paying companies. The fund’s goal is focused on total return, which means both income and price appreciation. It aims to achieve this by tracking the Fidelity US Quality Income Index.

I honestly like their setup a lot. On one hand, it takes some great quality aspects into consideration like the below for non-bank stocks:

Fidelity US Quality Income Index UCITS
Fidelity US quality income index criteria for non-bank stocks

On the other hand, it is focused on the ESG-sensitive investor by being clear in its exclusion criteria (i.e. no military, thermal coal, or tobacco stocks).

From a dividend point of view, it excludes companies that don’t pay a dividend or have a negative dividend growth over the last 5 years. In my opinion, it could be a bit stricter there, but so far it has done the index well. Even during the 2020 pandemic as can be observed in the dividend growth chart below.

Fidelity US Quality Income UCITS ETF dividend history | note: 2022 is 3 dividend payments to date, a 4th will come in December.

I also like that it has a relatively low total expense ratio of 0.25% which is quite uncommon for European investors.

Having said that, I think that it should come as no surprise that such selection criteria for this Dividend UCITS ETF results in an awesome top 10 list:

  • Apple Inc – 5.7%
  • Microsoft Corp – 4.6%
  • Chevron Corp – 1.9%
  • Eli Lilly and Co – 1.6%
  • Merck & Co Inc – 1.4%
  • Procter & Gamble Co – 1,4%
  • Procter & Gamble Co – 1,4%
  • The Home Depot Inc – 1,4%
  • McDonald’s Corp – 1.3%
  • Progressive Corp – 1.3%
  • Pfizer Inc – 1,2%

Together these 10 companies make up 23.20% of the total index. Most of these are very high-quality companies with very strong tailwinds. I believe that this should allow them to continue their dividend growth with high single- to double-digit growth numbers.

In other words, the future looks bright for this Dividend UCITS ETF and it sounds like another European VIG alternative.

Fidelity Global Quality Income UCITS USD Inc ETF

Ticker$FGQIDividend Yield3.07%
ISINIE00BYXVGZ48Total Expense Ratio0.40%
ProviderFidelityPayout FrequencyQuarterly

The Fidelity Global Quality Income UCITS USD Inc ETF exists since 2017. This dividend ETF has a similar focus as its US brother discussed a little bit earlier.

In this case, it tracks the Fidelity Global Quality Income Index which is also focused on total return and uses a nearly identical set of criteria. The main difference is its geographical scope. Unlike $FUSD, this dividend UCITS ETF treats the whole globe as its scope.

However, this includes the US and it still means that US-based stocks are dominating the top 10 of this fund:

  • Apple Inc – 3.6%
  • Microsoft Corp – 2.8%
  • Chevron Corp – 1.2%
  • Eli Lilly and Co – 1.1%
  • Texas Pacific Land Corp – 1.0%
  • TotalEnergies – 0.9%
  • The Home Depot Inc – 0.9%
  • Pfizer Inc – 0.9%
  • Procter & Gamble Co – 0.9%
  • Merck & Co Inc – 0.9%

I guess you could say that this fund offers you the best of both worlds because you don’t need to miss out on some excellent international dividend stocks like TotalEnergies. As a fact, US stocks make up ~70% of the index, followed by Japan (6.9%), UK (3.4%), and Switzerland (3.2%) | data as per 6-nov-2022.

Its dividend growth is not the same though. I guess this is where you can see that the US just excels in its commitment to stellar dividend growth. Though, it looks like their annual dividend growth is slowing down.

Fidelity Global Quality Income UCITS USD Inc ETF dividend history | note: 2022 is 3 dividend payments to date, a 4th will come in November.

Last but not least, the total expense ratio is 0.40% which is more expensive than $FUSD. I believe this is also something to take into consideration when making a choice.

All in all, I believe that this is a high-quality dividend UCITS ETF which is almost meeting my threshold from a dividend screener point of view. Hence, I could see this as another interesting European VIG alternative.

Interested in buying one of these Dividend UCITS ETFs and don’t have a broker yet? Check out my 3 favorite stock brokers which serve different types of investors:

There are still 10 other dividend UCITS ETFs that I have analyzed and which might be of interest to you. However, if I would discuss each and every one of these then this article becomes very lengthy.

That’s why I would also like to share this single overview with you and it includes some of the key metrics that I find important as a dividend growth investors. I hope it helps and allows you to make the right investment decisions.

But we’re not done yet, because there are still 3 dividend UCITS ETFs which I find interesting for different reasons. Hence, let’s also look into those.

iShares UK Dividend UCITS ETF GBP (Dist)

Ticker$IUKDDividend Yield6.63%
ISINIE00B0M63060Total Expense Ratio0.40%
ProvideriSharesPayout FrequencyQuarterly

The iShares UK Dividend UCITS ETF is one of the oldest ETFs in this list because it exists already since late 2005. The goal of this fund is to track the FTSE UK Dividend+ index. This index is designed to track the 50 highest-yielding companies in the FTSE 350 index, with exclusion from investment trusts. The index is neither taking any ESG requirements into account. Other important exclusion criteria are:

  • No dividend was paid in the last 12 months
  • The bottom 5% with a negative 6 and 12 months total return
  • Very low trading volumes (i.e. < 3 mln GBP)

The index is then ranked via certain criteria and the top 50 are selected for inclusion in the index.

I appreciate that you receive a nice high current yield which is nicely in line with the fund’s goals. However, this approach is not so much looking at consistent dividend growth. Hence, it should come as no surprise that their dividend distributions are inconsistent and unreliable from a dividend growth point of view.

The iShares UK Dividend UCITS ETF – Dividend History. 4th 2022 dividend has still to be declared at this time of writing.

Personally, I find this ETF interesting as a screener for UK dividend stocks. Just have a look at their top 10:

  • Rio Tinto PLC – 5.37%
  • Anglo American PLC – 4.70%
  • Persimmon Plc – 4.3%
  • Vodafone Group PLC – 3.86%
  • Imperial Brands PLC – 3.86%
  • British American Tobacco PLC – 3.76%
  • Legal and General Group Plc – 3.7%
  • HSBC Holdings PLC – 3.45%
  • Aviva Plc – 3.42%
  • BP PLC – 3.37%

Together they make up ~40% of the index and there are some great dividend growers in here that I prefer to hold as individual stocks (i.e. $BATS, $LGEN, $RIO).

Last but not least, it should come as no surprise that they excluded ESG requirements. Dark black oil and tobacco are dominating the top 10. Actually, I think it’s fair to say that this is the perfect sin-stock ETF 😎

Vanguard FTSE Developed Europe UCITS ETF

Ticker$VEURDividend Yield3.63%
ISINIE00B945VV12Total Expense Ratio0.10%
ProviderFTSEPayout FrequencyQuarterly

The FTSE Developed Europe UCITS ETF exists since 2013 and it’s the only ETF from Vanguard in this list. And who doesn’t love Vanguard ETFs? They are known to be very cheap and it doesn’t disappoint us with this Dividend UCITS ETF as you can get it at a 0.10% total expense ratio!

The fund’s objective is to track the FTSE Developed Europe index which is a combination of large- and midcap European stocks. The fund has a wide spread across Europe and the current top 10 consists of the following companies:

  • Nestle – 3.65%
  • Roche Holding – 2.85%
  • Shell plc – 2.28%
  • ASML Holding – 2.13%
  • AstraZeneca Plc – 2.04%
  • Novartis – 1.96%
  • Novo Nordisk – 1.95%
  • LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton – 1.85%
  • Unilever plc – 1.40%
  • TotalEnergies SE – 1.39%

I think it’s fair to say that this is a very high quality list from a European perspective. Actually, some of these are proud members of the European dividend aristocrats list.

But this also comes at a cost, because several of these seem very richly valued with a low dividend yield. On the other hand it gives you some nice mixture of high dividend / low growth vs low dividend / high growth.

Unfortunately this ETF is not having the best track record from a dividend growth point of view. Like several others, the dividend payments are inconsistent and relatively flat over the last 8 years with a strong dip in 2020.

FTSE Developed Europe UCITS ETF – dividend history | 4th 2022 dividend to be announced soon

While I like the quality of this UCITS ETF, I’m not totally convinced that this is the best choice to make as a dividend growth investor.

On the other hand, the current dividend looks attractive right now!

My final thoughts about investing in Dividend UCITS ETF ‘s.

I hope you found this article interesting and that it helps a bit to clarify the strength of the different Dividend UCITS ETFs.

It for sure clarified a lot to myself. For several years I’ve been pondering to automate a core of my investing approach, but there’s really nothing in here which matches my personal investment style, for now.

It also reconfirms to me how hard it is to be a European investor, because we’re exposed to so many expensive and underwhelming Dividend ETFs.

On the other hand, I do believe that there are a few European SCHD alternatives from a quality point of view. Its just lacking the current entry yield compared to VIG or SCHD.

Having said that, if I wouldn’t have time anymore to analyze individual companies then I would probably design my portfolio as follows:

  • 40% into Fidelity US Quality Income UCITS ETF USD ($FUSD) – good dividend growth
  • 30% into iShares UK Dividend UCITS ETF GBP ($IUKD) – high current dividend by companies I know
  • 30% into FTSE Developed Europe UCITS ETF ($VEUR) – exposure to high quality European stocks

This would give me a nice mixture of dividend yield (avg: 4.2%) vs dividend growth (5 yr CAGR: 6%) . At the same time, there is limited overlap between these 3 Dividend UCITS ETFs when it comes to their core holdings. It also allows for a nice setup and automation via for instance trading212.

That’s it from my point of view. I have discussed 7 out of the 15 Dividend UCITS ETFs that I researched. I’ve provided the other 8 tickers / ETF names in the list above. Please feel free to reach out if you want to know a bit more about any of those that I didn’t discuss.

I felt that their performance was subpar to the others and that’s why I decided to not mention them any further. Of course also to keep this article condensed.

Having said that, let me know what you think, and don’t be a stranger to let me and the community know about some of your thoughts in the comment section below.

#FromTheCommunityForTheCommunity 🙏

Yours Truly,

European Dividend Growth Investor


I’m not a certified financial planner/advisor nor a certified financial analyst nor an economist nor a CPA nor an accountant nor a lawyer. I’m not a finance professional through formal education. I’m a person who believes and takes pride in a sense of freedom, satisfaction, fulfillment and empowerment that I get from being financially competent and being conscious managing my personal money. The contents on this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial, accounting, or legal advice. I can’t promise that the information shared on my blog is appropriate for you or anyone else. By reading this blog, you agree to hold me harmless from any ramifications, financial or otherwise, that occur to you as a result of acting on information provided on this blog.

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European DGI

I am European DGI and it's my desire to retire early via Dividend Growth Investing as a passive income stream. This is not easy and especially when living in Europe. That's why I started this blog because I truly believe we can learn a lot from each other by sharing our journeys!
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