QDF’s trailing 12-month yield of about 2.7% is not eye-popping, but there is an advantage there. Obviously, QDF’s low yield is the result of low yields found on many of the ETF’s 2012 holdings. Only five of the ETF’s top-10 holdings yields over 3% and Altria (NYSE: MO) that yields north of 4%.

The advantage is that a lower yield often implies a safer payout and more room for potential dividend growth. A recent study of U.S. dividend ETFs by Credit Suisse assessing the safety of the payouts of those funds’ underlying holdings found that QDF has one of the safest fixed coverage ratios. [Dividend ETF Flexes its Muscles]

There is something to how FlexShares marries dividends and the quality factor in its suite of three U.S.-focused dividend ETFs.

The FlexShares Quality Dividend Defensive Index Fund (NYSEArca: QDEF) and the FlexShares Quality Dividend Dynamic Index Fund (NYSEArca: QDYN) debuted on the same day as QDF. Although smaller than QDF, QDEF and QDYN have returned 35.4% and 41%, respectively, since coming to market, offering substantial out-performance of VIG along the way.

FlexShares Quality Dividend Index Fund