Investors piled into dividend exchange traded funds last year, but the trend has started to wane with the S&P 500 enjoying a solid start to 2012.

Among dividend ETFs, the best performer so far this year may not be the most obvious candidate.

“In aggregate, equity funds suffered net redemptions in 2011, but investors didn’t shun those focused on dividends, which enjoyed roughly $3 billion in inflows. Dividend-oriented exchange-traded funds took in a much bigger $14.3 billion haul. Predictably, fund firms launched new offerings to take advantage of the trend, and some already-existing funds became more income-oriented,” wrote Christopher Davis for a Morningstar article.

In total, fund providers launched about 16 new dividend focused ETFs in 2011.

The best performer in 2012 is Guggenheim ABC High Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: ABCS), reports Christopher Magoon for Seeking Alpha. The fund tracks three international markets: Australia, Brazil and Canada. [ETF Spotlight: SPDR S&P Emerging Market Dividend]