Highest Yielding ETFs

Highest Yielding ETFs

Yields for these ETFs top out at more than 10%.

Senior ETF Analyst
Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
Edited by: Sumit Roy

Is the search for yield over? For years after the financial crisis, investors struggled to generate income as central banks around the world cut interest rates to nothing and unleashed unprecedented amounts of monetary stimulus.

More recently, that paradigm has begun to reverse. In the U.S., the Fed is consistently hiking rates, while its counterparts in Europe and Asia are itching to join it.

The benchmark federal funds rate is nearly 2% after hovering near zero three years ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield more than doubled from 1.32% at its low point in 2016 to last trade at 2.85%.

Ask almost any investment strategist out there, and they’ll probably say the same thing: Yields are headed higher.

The Search Continues

If that’s the case, does it still make sense for investors to take on additional risk and wade into alternative investments to stretch for yield—or should they be content with Treasuries and other investment-grade bonds?

The answer, of course, depends on who you ask. But the fact remains that even though interest rates have risen from their rock-bottom levels, they are still extremely low on a historical basis. Outside the post-crisis period, current rates are lower than they’ve been at any other point in the past 55 years.

For some investors, a 2-3% yield may not be enough. They might be willing to take on a greater allocation to equities to make up for the lack of return in the investment-grade bond market.

Other investors may want higher consistent yields, which most bonds and even stocks can’t provide. In that case, they may be interested in investments with especially large distributions, equal to double or even triple what you could get elsewhere.

Some of these investments are available in an ETF wrapper—funds with yields in excess of 6%.

It goes without saying that these funds are much riskier than the average investment-grade bond fund. Stretching for yield is just that—going further out on the risk spectrum to achieve higher distributions.

Exercise Caution

We’ve put together a list of the 20 ETFs with the highest yields. Funds that have made large one-time distributions (in the event of a capital gains distribution, for example) are excluded from the list.

The ETFs are selected based on the average dividend yield of their holdings and the funds' latest 30-day SEC yields (a standardized yield calculation specified by the Securities and Exchange Commission), metrics that suggest some degree of sustainability for the yields.

Of course, no yield—other than that of Treasuries—is guaranteed, so exercise caution when buying any of these funds.

Mortgage REITs

The only ETF to clock in with a double-digit yield is the VanEck Vectors Mortgage REIT Income ETF (MORT), at 10%.

Unlike equity REITs, which own physical real estate, mortgage REITs own mortgage-backed securities. These REITs often employ leverage, attempting to capture the spread between short-term and long-term interest rates, generating juicy yields in the process.

Along with MORT, the iShares Mortgage Real Estate ETF (REM) is another fund in the category, with a yield of 9.8%.

While MORT and REM focus exclusively on mortgage REITs, No.3 on the highest-yielding list takes a more diversified approach. The Invesco KBW High Dividend Yield Financial ETF (KBWD) holds a basket of financial companies with high yields, including mortgage REITs, insurance companies, private equity companies and others.

The added diversification doesn’t hurt the yield at all though, as KBWD offers a chunky 9.8% yield.


TickerFundFund Average Dividend Yield30-Day SEC Yield
MORTVanEck Vectors Mortgage REIT Income ETF10.019.45
REM iShares Mortgage Real Estate ETF9.849.56
KBWD Invesco KBW High Dividend Yield Financial ETF9.778.61


Similar to REITs, another group to consistently provide high yields for investors is master limited partnerships (MLPs). These companies typically focus on energy infrastructure businesses, such as pipelines and storage facilities, and pass along most of their cash flows to investors.

The VanEck Vectors High Income MLP ETF (YMLP), the Direxion Zacks MLP High Income Index Shares (ZMLP) and the Global X MLP ETF (MLPA) are a few of the funds from this group that made the list, with yields in excess of 7%.


TickerFundFund Average Dividend Yield30-Day SEC Yield
YMLP VanEck Vectors High Income MLP ETF9.519.37
ZMLP Direxion Zacks MLP High Income Index Shares8.97-
MLPAGlobal X MLP ETF 7.5-


Superdividend ETFs

The funds mentioned so far are primarily U.S.-focused, but investors can also find high yields outside the country. The Global X Superdividend ETF (SDIV) doesn’t care what country or sector a stock resides in, only that it has a high yield.

It equally weights 100 of the highest dividend-yielding stocks in the world and churns out a beefy 9.3% yield.

Global X has a handful of these “superdividend” ETFs on the market, each targeting a different niche. The Global X MSCI SuperDividend Emerging Markets ETF (SDEM) and the Global X MSCI SuperDividend EAFE ETF (EFAS) are two other examples.

Not to be outdone, iShares has competing products targeting similar areas, such as the iShares Asia/Pacific Dividend ETF (DVYA) and the iShares Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (DVYE), each with yields above 7%.

Here’s a full list of the highest-yielding ETFs:


Highest Yielding ETFs 

TickerFundFund Average Dividend Yield30-Day SEC Yield
MORTVanEck Vectors Mortgage REIT Income ETF10.019.45
REM iShares Mortgage Real Estate ETF9.849.56
KBWD Invesco KBW High Dividend Yield Financial ETF9.778.61
YMLP VanEck Vectors High Income MLP ETF9.519.37
SDIV Global X Superdividend ETF9.309.06
BIZD VanEck Vectors BDC Income ETF9.298.45
ZMLP Direxion Zacks MLP High Income Index Shares8.97-
GYLD Arrow Dow Jones Global Yield ETF8.898.81
KBWYInvesco KBW Premium Yield Equity REIT ETF8.247.62
SRET Global X SuperDividend REIT ETF8.227.35
YMLI VanEck Vectors High Income Infrastructure MLP ETF7.997.52
SDEM Global X MSCI SuperDividend Emerging Markets ETF7.944.41
DVYA iShares Asia/Pacific Dividend ETF7.795.53
MLPA Global X MLP ETF7.50-
EFASGlobal X MSCI SuperDividend EAFE ETF7.486.38
AMLP Alerian MLP ETF7.31-
DVYE iShares Emerging Markets Dividend ETF7.055.33
DIVGlobal X SuperDividend US ETF7.036.52
GHIIInvesco S&P High Income Infrastructure ETF6.965.83
REDV Oppenheimer Emerging Markets Ultra Dividend Revenue ETF6.83-


Email Sumit Roy at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter sumitroy2

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for etf.com, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining etf.com, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for etf.com, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of etf.com’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.