Dividend payments 'set to climb to record £75bn'

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The Independent Online

Shareholder payouts by UK companies will hit a record £75bn this year. The prediction comes from Capita Registrars, which says total dividend payouts will climb 10 per cent in 2012, from the record £67.8bn in 2011.Retail investors will benefit from a record £8.55bn dividends this year, up £0.5bn on last year.

The company's Private Investor Watch shows there is some optimism among retail shareholders, demonstrated by them buying a net £221m in equities in early 2012, to 13 March.

"There are signs of improvement in the economy, which suggests share prices may well be underpinned," said Charles Cryer, the chief executive of Capita. "That seems to have encouraged investors back into the market."

He said dividends will grow in importance to investors in the future as the market continues to fluctuate. "In the last five years, the FTSE 100 has barely moved, bringing a small capital loss to retail investors, but they have earned £38bn in dividends over that period."

The most popular sector this year has been resources. Investors added £368m to their holdings of resources shares. They bought £144m of financial shares. But consumer goods, healthcare and utilities all saw net selling.