Some dividend exchange traded funds select stocks based on how long those companies have increased payouts while others weight components by dividend yield. The WisdomTree U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund (NASDAQ: DGRW) takes a different approach.

DGRW includes companies with high long-term earnings-growth forecasts for the next three to five years and weights components based on the value of dividends they are expected to pay over the next year. The ETF tracks the WisdomTree U.S. Dividend Growth Index (WTDGI), which evaluates companies based on earnings quality, return on assets and return on equity.

DGRW “ranks its components according to three factors: long-term earnings growth, historical three-year average return on equity and historical three-year average return on assets. It will pull out the top 300 names using this methodology and then weight them according to the total amount of cash dividends paid, not dividend yield. What you’re left with is a portfolio that tilts towards large-cap dividend payers and includes companies that operate efficiently and generate a lot of cash,” according to ETF Daily News.

DGRW could be ideally positioned to endure higher interest rates, should the Federal Reserve opt to resume that trend later this year. While a rise in rates would diminish the attractiveness of dividend stocks with premium valuations and low growth, more high quality dividend payers or the group of dividend growers may stand out.

“Companies with high ROEs and ROAs have the flexibility to invest in available growth opportunities, improve the infrastructure of the business and reward shareholders with dividend growth and share buybacks,” reports ETF Daily News. “Moreover, these companies can potentially shield investors from market downturns due to their demonstrated ability to maximize returns through various economic cycles.”

Related: Are Smart Beta ETF Strategies Growing Too Big?

DGRW, which turned four in May, has over $1.7 billion in assets under management and a distribution yield of 1.61%. While that is lower than the dividend yield on the S&P 500 and lower than the yield on 10-year Treasuries, it implies DGRW member firms have ample room for dividend growth going forward.

The ETF allocates nearly 21% of its weight to technology stocks, one of the largest technology allocations among all dividend ETFs. Healthcare and industrial names combine for over 39% of the ETF’s roster while the two consumer sectors combine for over 30%. DGRW is up 12% year-to-date.

For more on smart beta ETFs, visit our Smart Beta Channel.

Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of DGRW.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!