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No. of Recommendations: 8
They also have some good CEFs, including RFI, the latter of which pays monthly dividends and has maintained its dividend since inception around 2005.

Either your source of information is incorrect, or you're confusing RFI with a different closed-end fund. The inception date for RFI is 09/27/1993.

RFI has not maintained its dividend since 2005. In 2009, the fund slashed its dividend by over 50%, which coincided with a temporary change from monthly dividends to quarterly dividends. If by "maintained" you simply meant the fund paid a dividend every year since 2005 (albeit one that was significantly reduced at one point), then yes, RFI has maintained its dividend.

When deciding whether to invest in a fund, it's generally a good idea to examine its long-term performance as a means of evaluating the fund manager's process. In terms of excess returns versus RFI's benchmark, not much value has been added by Cohen & Steers for their active management of the fund's assets. From inception through the end of last year - a period spanning 27.25 years - RFI's annualized rate of return is 9.5%, which is only a smidgen above the 9.37% annualized rate of return of the FTSE Nareit All Equity REITs Index that Cohen & Steers uses as the fund's benchmark. In light of the cumulative time and effort spent managing the fund, a mere 13 basis points of outperformance is rather uninspiring. In fairness, outperforming the aforementioned index is not identified as an objective in RFI's prospectus, so existing and potential investors in the fund will need to decide for themselves if the fund has achieved its stated objective: "The Fund’s investment objective is to achieve a high total return through investment in real estate securities."

Incidentally, the fund's current monthly dividend of eight cents per share is exactly what it was in 1994, so whatever advantages RFI may offer investors, long-term growth of dividends is not one of them.
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