On the horns of an exquisite dividend dilemma

Satisfying shareholder return expectations won't be easy this year. And despite an unusually cheap debt and equity environment, M&A isn't the option it should be.

The wobbles in equity and bond markets triggered by the start of the US Federal Reserve board’s tapering of its quantitative easing program will be causing some furrowed brows among chief financial officers and corporate strategists.

For the past five years corporates, and not just in Australia, have been following a very simple strategy of risk aversion. After the massive, $200 billion or so, recapitalisation of corporate Australia in the wake of the financial crisis, companies have been focused on balance sheet conservatism and cost-cutting.

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