This is the first quarter in which I have owned TISM (Total International Stock Index). I also own TSM (Total stock market index). I had thought, perhaps mistakingly, that TISM was actually paying higher dividends than TSM. However, the distribution appears SIGNIFICANTLY less. I can only see the last 4 quarters of dividends for the funds so I don't know if this is an anomaly or if TISM for some reason always pays a lot less in Quarter 1 and then "catches up". Any insights on this? Thank you.

What happened last year? Was there a quarter 1 last year? Invent four "quarters" if you must.

I can't seem to find the answer for quarter 1 of last year. I don't know what to invent as Q1 of this year for TISM is so low.

Calm Man wrote:I can't seem to find the answer for quarter 1 of last year. I don't know what to invent as Q1 of this year for TISM is so low.

What did you find for TISM for last year? If a dividend covered two quarters, how would you invent a single quarter? If a dividend covered three quarters, how would you invent a single quarter? When you have invented quarter 1 for last year, compare it to quarter 4 for last year.

Calm Man wrote:I can't seem to find the answer for quarter 1 of last year. I don't know what to invent as Q1 of this year for TISM is so low.

When I look at the Vanguard web site, I see distribution information from 3rd Qtr 2011 to the present for both. TISM did not distribute every quarter. TISM distributed about 3% and TSM about 2%.

- House Blend
**Posts:**2797**Joined:**Fri May 04, 2007 1:02 pm

Last year, Vanguard switched from annual distributions of Total Int dividends to quarterly. As a result, the Q3 dividend covered 9 months, and the Q4 dividend covered 3 months.

So none of us have experience with what a "normal" Q1 dividend for Total Int should look like.

I do agree that it was rather surprising to see that the Q1 dividend this year was less than 10% of the total distributed last year.

Whether this portends an exceptionally small total distribution in 2013 is unclear at this point. It's possible that the changeover to the new benchmark index is having *some* effect. But the existing FTSE large fund, which is not undergoing changes, also had a very small Q1 dividend.

So none of us have experience with what a "normal" Q1 dividend for Total Int should look like.

I do agree that it was rather surprising to see that the Q1 dividend this year was less than 10% of the total distributed last year.

Whether this portends an exceptionally small total distribution in 2013 is unclear at this point. It's possible that the changeover to the new benchmark index is having *some* effect. But the existing FTSE large fund, which is not undergoing changes, also had a very small Q1 dividend.

- Noobvestor
**Posts:**4199**Joined:**Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:09 am-
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House Blend wrote:Last year, Vanguard switched from annual distributions of Total Int dividends to quarterly. As a result, the Q3 dividend covered 9 months, and the Q4 dividend covered 3 months.

So none of us have experience with what a "normal" Q1 dividend for Total Int should look like.

I do agree that it was rather surprising to see that the Q1 dividend this year was less than 10% of the total distributed last year.

Whether this portends an exceptionally small total distribution in 2013 is unclear at this point. It's possible that the changeover to the new benchmark index is having *some* effect. But the existing FTSE large fund, which is not undergoing changes, also had a very small Q1 dividend.

SCV also had a tiny dividend. I'm not used to quarterly dividends, so not really sure what's normal here.

"In the absence of clarity, diversification is the only logical strategy" -= Larry Swedroe

Math time:

Assume all companies pay 2% per year. X% of them pay once a year in December, Y% of them pay two equal dividends in June and December, and the other (100 - X - Y)% pay four equal dividends in March, June, September, and December.

What percentage of the total dividends are paid in March, in June, and in December?

Assume all companies pay 2% per year. X% of them pay once a year in December, Y% of them pay two equal dividends in June and December, and the other (100 - X - Y)% pay four equal dividends in March, June, September, and December.

What percentage of the total dividends are paid in March, in June, and in December?

March: 100-x-y

June: 100-x

December: 100

June: 100-x

December: 100

If X is 50% and Y is 20%, you paid out 210% of the annual dividends.

March 30% of the total dividends

June 50% of the total dividends

September 30% of the total dividends

December 100% of the total dividends

Total dividends for the year: 210% of the total dividends.

Hint: if a company pays two equal dividends, they are not both 100% of the annual total.

Here is another version: Each company pays a total of $2 a year in dividends. With 100 companies, how much gets paid each quarter?

March 30% of the total dividends

June 50% of the total dividends

September 30% of the total dividends

December 100% of the total dividends

Total dividends for the year: 210% of the total dividends.

Hint: if a company pays two equal dividends, they are not both 100% of the annual total.

Here is another version: Each company pays a total of $2 a year in dividends. With 100 companies, how much gets paid each quarter?

Not solvable without more info unless you're asking us to produce a formula so complicated as to mean nothing helpful to anyone. Companies pay differing amount of dividends. If company A pays four times a year, and every other company pays once a year, but company A pays 90% of the total dividends for the fund, you'll still get a fairly equal split in each quarter. 22.5/22.5/22.5/32.5. You can't solve without knowing or introducing a variable to represent the total fraction of dividends handed out by X and Y, and that is too complicated to be useful.

I like the "wrong" answer given by Chicago60 better. It shows the percent of companies handing out dividends in each quarter instead of the percent of dividends handed out, but it at least makes sense at a glance.

I like the "wrong" answer given by Chicago60 better. It shows the percent of companies handing out dividends in each quarter instead of the percent of dividends handed out, but it at least makes sense at a glance.

Last edited by RobInCT on Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

I goofed...I skipped September. I think this is accurate intuitively (agreeing with Rob):

March: (100-x-y)/2

June: 100-x

Sep: (100-x-y)/2

Dec: 100

March: (100-x-y)/2

June: 100-x

Sep: (100-x-y)/2

Dec: 100

The original question was about why the payouts might not be the same each quarter, so the issue is the size of the dividends, not how many companies pay. To simplify matters, assume the fund owns an equal dollar amount of each company, each of which pays out 2%, split into four, two, or one as appropriate.

If foreign companies are much less likely than US companies to pay four equal dividends, could that explain why the December dividend is so much larger than the March dividend? Instead of a formula, use 50% pay only in December, 20% pay twice a year, and 30% pay four times a year. Only 30% of the companies are paying in March, and they are only paying 0.5%. That gives me a 0.15% payout in March (and September). What percentage of the total payout for the year is that?

That's easy. The total payout is 2%. 0.15% is 7.5% of that total. What percentage is paid in December? What multiple of the March payout is the December payout?*

* I got 9 times as large.

If foreign companies are much less likely than US companies to pay four equal dividends, could that explain why the December dividend is so much larger than the March dividend? Instead of a formula, use 50% pay only in December, 20% pay twice a year, and 30% pay four times a year. Only 30% of the companies are paying in March, and they are only paying 0.5%. That gives me a 0.15% payout in March (and September). What percentage of the total payout for the year is that?

That's easy. The total payout is 2%. 0.15% is 7.5% of that total. What percentage is paid in December? What multiple of the March payout is the December payout?*

* I got 9 times as large.

- House Blend
**Posts:**2797**Joined:**Fri May 04, 2007 1:02 pm

Noobvestor wrote:SCV also had a tiny dividend. I'm not used to quarterly dividends, so not really sure what's normal here.

FWIW, SCV is still on a once-annually dividend schedule.

The recent mini-dividend was a catch-up distribution to finish off the dividends from the end of last year.

But this seems to happen nearly every year. If data from Yahoo is to be trusted, the last time there was no March mini-dividend for VG SCV was in 2004.

- Noobvestor
**Posts:**4199**Joined:**Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:09 am-
**Contact:**

House Blend wrote:Noobvestor wrote:SCV also had a tiny dividend. I'm not used to quarterly dividends, so not really sure what's normal here.

FWIW, SCV is still on a once-annually dividend schedule.

The recent mini-dividend was a catch-up distribution to finish off the dividends from the end of last year.

But this seems to happen nearly every year. If data from Yahoo is to be trusted, the last time there was no March mini-dividend for VG SCV was in 2004.

Ahh, good catch, and thanks - that outlier in particular was throwing me for a loop.

"In the absence of clarity, diversification is the only logical strategy" -= Larry Swedroe

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