In today’s environment, investors are in an almost constant search of income-producing asset classes.

One particular area of focus have been dividend-paying equities—made attractive not only because of the current income but also because of the potential for future growth of that income. And we are seeing significant increases in dividends from some of the largest dividend payers thus far in 2013.

The top five increases in cash dividend streams in 2013 have been:

• Wells Fargo increased its dividend per share twice so far in 2013, for a total increase of 36%—this will mean approximately $1.7 billion more will be returned to shareholders.

• J.P. Morgan increased its dividend per share 27% during the same period, resulting in an incremental increase of $1.26 billion being returned to shareholders.

• Wal-Mart increased its dividend almost 20%, meaning that an additional $970 million will be paid out as dividends.

• Ford has doubled its dividend in 2013—adding almost $800 million to its dividend stream.

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