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Do you have any general advice for how this portfolio might change for non-US residents?
I tend to focus on UK and HK and less on US stocks for dividend based
investing due to the 30% haircut to Uncle Sam which puts the latter at
a significant disadvantage. I know that dividend protected SSF's will
get rid of the haircut but the spreads on those seem to be horrendous.


It depends on your local tax situation as well, but I know what you mean about the 30% US haircut.
I own almost no dividend paying stocks as stock as a result.

As you say, SSFs are tough because the bid/ask is bad for most of them.
This is aggravated by the fact that the longest dates available aren't
far out so they have to be rolled regularly. More bid/ask, more work too.

A theoretically better approach would be CFDs if they are allowed where you live.
Interactive Brokers offers them for US stocks now (not for Americans!).
The problem I have with them is that CFDs, Contracts for Difference, are
nothing but contracts with your broker as the counterparty.
But just TRY to find out the actual text of the contract in question.
I went back and forth a half dozen times with Interactive Brokers on this,
to no avail...they just said "see the summary on our web page".
It's scattered about on several pages, and changes regularly: not my idea of a "contract".
Sorry, not good enough.
The other problem with CFDs is that, though there is no bid/ask spread
greater than that of the underlying and the dividends are fully credited,
you have to pay the broker's going interest rate on the the implicitly
leveraged portion of the position even if you have net cash in the account.
At least that's my reading of it.

One thought:
When selecting investments, give a few bonus points to countries without
withholding tax on dividends even for shareholders in countries without tax treaties.
The UK is the biggie here: there is no withholding tax on my Tesco shares.
Alas most of the other countries with no withholding tax are not
necessarily your prime suspects for widows and orphans.
They include Croatia, Egypt, Libya, Malaysia.
Some others might be worth hunting: Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, Brazil.
http://www.worldwide-tax.com/world/tax_withholding_rates.asp...

I don't seek dividends as a rule, but to the extent that I do, the
best approach I have for easing the withholding tax hit is:
(a) If it's listed in the UK, you're fine.
(b) If not, hold the security as US-listed repeated slightly in-the-money puts.
Depending on where you live the option premium tax might be a concern,
but you get the dividend (hidden in the option premium) and more.
Sometimes the extra is negligible, sometimes not.
My "dividend yield" on WFC has averaged 22%/year in the last 4 years this way.

Jim
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