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KAPLAN PUBLISHING 37 Financial strategy development 38 KAPLAN PUBLISHING chapter 3 Dividend policy Chapter learning objectives Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to: • list and explain the factors, which affect distribution and retention policy • recommend an appropriate distribution and retention policy in a scenario question. 39 Dividend policy 1 Deciding on a distribution and retention policy Dividend irrelevancy theory You will recall from your studies in the F9 paper that Modigliani and Miller proposed their dividend irrelevancy theory, the key points of which are as follows: In an efficient market, dividend irrelevancy theory suggests that, provided all retained earnings are invested in positive NPV projects, existing shareholders will be indifferent about the pattern of dividend payouts.
See chapter 7 for further discussion). The goals set by a company should reflect their concerns as key stakeholders, and communication of them should reassure shareholders that the firm is acting as they would wish. Keeping government departments informed of activities and consulting in key areas can help prevent later government intervention, or punitive action from regulators. Companies are therefore keen to demonstrate their commitment to ethical, environmental polices. They can do so by communicating clearly the specific goals and policies they have developed to ensure they meet customer expectations.
Cost of finance If the firm needs funds for future investments, retained earnings are the cheapest source of funds available. Policy A suitable policy would therefore be one that: • leaves sufficient funds for investment and avoids the need to incur transaction costs raising funds in the near future • has a fairly constant dividend pattern. The problem is that it ignores the availability of funds, and the investment projects that may require them. However, it is true that in practice, if shareholders are unhappy about the cut, and sell their shares the price fall.
ACCA P4 Advanced financial management Essential text by Kaplan