The Federal Reserve is signaling that interest rates could rise sooner than some investors previously expected, but that does not mean the advantages of dividend stocks and exchange traded funds will be diminished.

That is particularly true of dividend ETFs that are not excessively weighted to rate-sensitive sectors such as telecom and utilities. Even in a rising rate environment, a payout fund such as the ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (NYSEArca: NOBL), which is built on the principles of dividend growth, could not only survive, but thrive.

“The fact of the matter is people like dividends and dividends matter,” said ProShares Head of Capital Markets Steve Sachs in an interview with ETF Trends. “The search for yield and the income component is stronger than ever.”

Indeed, the search for income remains strong and that hunt is benefiting NOBL. The debuted in October 2013 and needed just five months to surpass $100 million in assets under management.[ProShares Dividend ETF Tops $100M in AUM]

NOBL tracks the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index, which only includes companies that have increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. “It currently contains 54 companies diversified across the consumer staples, industrials, materials, health care, financials and consumer discretionary sectors. The companies in the index are equal-weighted, rather than weighted by market capitalization. It is reconstituted annually in January and rebalanced in April, July and October,” said ProShares in a statement.

Investors have an increasing number of dividend growth ETFs from which to choose and the concept has proven extremely popular as two of the largest U.S. dividend ETFs – the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSEArca: VIG) and the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: SDY) – require dividend increase streaks of at least 10 years and 25 years, respectively.

Data indicate there is good reason to bet dividend growth stocks and the ETFs that hold those shares. From 1972 through 2012 companies that initiated or consistently raised dividends outperformed and were less volatile than the companies either did not pay, cut or kept dividends stagnant, according to Ned Davis Research. [Dividend Growth Via ETFs]