I wondered who underwrote AOD. Found this on the internet...
"NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- [Jan 26, 2007] Alpine Total Dynamic Dividend Fund raised $3.5 billion in its initial public offering Friday, making it the richest closed-end fund ever.
The Purchase, N.Y. fund sold 176 million shares at $20 a share with a long list of underwriters, including Wachovia, Citigroup Global Markets, AG Edwards, BB&T Capital Markets, Robert W. Baird & Co, Ferris Baker Watts Inc, H&R Block Financial Advisors Inc, Janney Montgomery Scott, Oppenheimer & Co, Raymond James and others.
Alpine Total Dynamic Dividend Fund (US:AOD) opened at $20.02 and rose to $20.24 in recent action.
With a focus on long-term growth of capital as a secondary investment objective, the fund expects to invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus amounts borrowed, for investment purposes in the equity securities of domestic and foreign corporations that pay dividends, according to its prospectus...."
Dow was about 12,500 on the January 26, 2007 IPO date vs 13,437 today.
A dartboard portfolio of U.S. blue chip stocks bought on that date would have made a small cap gain plus five years of dividends. So IPO timing played a microscopic role in AOD's fall from $20 to $4.43.
I wondered too why AOD plummeted so terribly early on.
Sure, too much capital was paid out as dividends, but I wondered about the quality of the early holdings. AOD only reports holdings twice a year and the turnover is so high you can't determine much. I'm sure there was plenty of window trimming at the end of reporting periods.
I didn't spot a lot of junk. They didn't own a ton of bank garbage (they had some really bad Irish banks). It APPEARS that many of their stocks were solid industrials. But its impossible to know for sure. The NAV collapse suggests that Alpine wasn't a great stock picker.
I'll add my opinion that AOD shareholders would have done much better in the bull market of the past two years if the fund hadn't paid out so much as the market plummeted in 2007-2009.