Low interest rates getting you down? These three dividend champions can help

It didn’t take long for high street banks to follow the Bank of England’s rate cut last month and cut the interest rates offered to savers. Only a few months ago it was relatively easy to find a savings or current account that paid 3% per annum or more in interest. Now it seems as if banks are engaged in a race to the bottom with most high street lenders having cut savings rates to below 1%.

As the war on saving intensifies, investors and savers should seek safety in high-quality dividend stocks. It’s now relatively easy to find a dividend champion with a yield more than the average savings rate. Here are three ideas.

Discount property 

British Land (LSE: BLND) is one of the UK’s largest real estate investment trusts. Not only is the company a great dividend investment, but it’s also an excellent way to play the property market for those investors who don’t have the capital or inclination to buy physical property.

Real estate investment trusts have fallen out of favour with investors this year. Year-to-date shares in the trust have fallen by 19% excluding dividends, although after these declines the shares are trading significantly below British Land’s net asset value. At the end of 2015, the firm reported a net asset value of 919p per share. The shares currently support a dividend yield of 4.8%.

Long-term clarity 

Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) is a dividend champion that has nearly 200 years of history behind it. According to City forecasts, shares in Legal & General will support a dividend yield of 6.9% this year and a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the payout is covered 1.4 times by earnings per share. Since the financial crisis, the company has adopted a dividend policy of only increasing the payout by as much as it can afford and due to the nature of Legal’s business, it’s easy for management to forecast how much the group can pay.

The revenue from managing pensions and savings accounts can produce a steady, predictable stream of income for many years. Therefore, the predictability of Legal & General’s business means that management can set the level of the firm’s dividend with a degree of certainty that the payout is sustainable at that level. 

Infrastructure investment

Infrastructure group Carillion (LSE: CLLN) doesn’t seem like the perfect dividend stock at first glance but this pick is a play on increasing spending on infrastructure in the UK. It’s widely expected that Theresa May’s new government will approve and schedule a wave of new infrastructure projects to boost the UK’s economy during the next few years. These projects will be a boon for companies like Carillion.

Shares in Carillion already support a dividend yield of 7.1%, and the payout is covered twice by earnings per share. The shares trade at a forward P/E of 7.4. So it would appear that Carillion is both an income and growth-at-a-reasonable-price stock.

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Rupert Hargreaves has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.