Exploring the Liberty All-Star Equity Fund as a High-Dividend Paying Option

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Written By Elizabeth Monroe

In today’s investment landscape, diversity is key. As an investor, having exposure to a variety of asset classes can provide stability and opportunities for growth. One such asset class that shouldn’t be overlooked is closed-end funds (CEFs), which offer high yields and instant diversification.

The Liberty All Star Equity ETF (USA) falls into this category, offering shareholders exposure to some of the highest quality US-based companies alongside a high-yield component.

USA: A Closer Look

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As we approach mid-2024, it’s prudent to reassess USA’s performance and positioning. Despite the lackluster price performance over the past decade, with only a 13.15% price appreciation compared to the S&P 500’s 177% return, USA’s strength lies in its consistent high dividend yield, currently sitting at around 9.8%.

This high yield is paid out to shareholders on a quarterly basis, making it an attractive option for income-focused investors.

Strategy & Financials

What sets USA apart is its unique management structure, with five different asset managers overseeing the fund. This blended approach combines value and growth strategies, providing shareholders with exposure to a diverse range of high-quality holdings.

Despite a relatively low expense ratio of 0.93% annually, the fund’s high distribution offsets potential price growth. This is because distributions come directly from the fund’s net assets, including return of capital when necessary to meet dividend obligations.

Income Growth

The recent 6% dividend increase in April 2024 reflects USA’s commitment to income growth. While the fund may not have a steady dividend growth history due to its performance-based payouts, long-term investors can still benefit from significant income growth over time.

Reinvesting distributions and employing a dollar-cost averaging strategy can further enhance income generation, providing a valuable source of income for retirees and long-term investors.

Reduced Real Estate Exposure

USA has slightly reduced its exposure to the real estate sector, a prudent move given the sector’s challenges in recent years. As interest rates remain elevated, limiting exposure to real estate minimizes risk and enhances the fund’s potential for earnings retention in 2024 and beyond.

Valuation & Vulnerabilities

Trading at a discount to net asset value (NAV) of 2.75%, USA presents an attractive entry point for investors. However, investors must weigh the trade-off between total return and income, as the fund’s distribution system may limit future growth.

While USA may not be suitable for investors seeking high total returns, it remains an ideal option for retirees and income-focused investors looking for steady cash flow.

Versatile Income-Generating Option

In conclusion, the Liberty All Star Equity ETF (USA) offers investors a versatile income-generating option within the closed-end fund space. With a diverse portfolio of top US-based companies and a high-yield component, USA provides stability and income potential for long-term investors.

Despite its distribution-driven approach, the fund’s discounted valuation and potential for price appreciation make it a compelling investment opportunity, particularly for retirees seeking income now, not later.

Possible Reduction in Interest Rates

Looking ahead, potential catalysts for USA’s price appreciation include a reduction in interest rates, which could lead to a narrowing of the discount to NAV and increased investor demand. Additionally, ongoing efforts to optimize the fund’s holdings and maximize income generation could further enhance its appeal to income-focused investors.

Solid Investment Opportunity

Credits: DepositPhotos

Overall, the Liberty All Star Equity ETF (USA) remains a compelling option for investors seeking high yields and diversification within the closed-end fund space.

While it may not offer the same level of capital appreciation as some growth-oriented investments, its focus on income generation and stable returns make it a valuable addition to a well-rounded investment portfolio.


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