Your post shows your lack of homework and truthfullness. How could you possibly have held ACG for years and not be familiar with GSF and SI since very recently GSF and SI were merged into ACG? But since you challenged me, if you do some due diligence on your own you will find that ACG's NAV and market value have declined steadily for years and the fund has had dividend cuts in the past, the most recent being in March, 2000. Why they recently raised the dividend is beyond me since the fund obviously is not earning it, and Alliance has not continued to pay out more in the past than they earned in these funds.
Lack of homework, O.K. Lack of truthfulness, only inadvertently....I did know that the other funds got merged into ACG, but there my knowledge of them ends. Is their pre-merger performance relevant? I know Alliance runs a number of funds with poor performance -- compared to ACG. ACG seems O.K.
I haven't monitored the NAV particularly, just the stock price and payout. However, I expected these to fluctuate. Even so, ACG gives a lot better return than a savings account, with not much risk in safety! I do not hold ACG shares for capital appreciation. My opinion: If you bought expecting constantly growing double-digit returns, there is no guarantee here. For me, it was either ACG, or else start trading my own zero-coupon bonds, etc. (That's a hint in answer to your last question.)
I still own 700 shares of ACG, despite my oft stated intention to get rid of it before it bites me hard again. While the dividend seems nice, it is hardly secure since earnings do not cover payout and the cut is inevitable as you have been warned by axzl who is right on the button with his observations and history. You can punch in my messages 360, 385, 394, and 411 to get a better insight into the risk inherent in ACG. As for your comparison of ACG to a savings account, remember that your capital is guaranteed there, but while you may not be in ACG for capital appeciation, that is exactly what you have been getting when its NAV rises, and even more when its market price goes above the NAV. However, if NAV goes down and market price goes down and the inevitable dividend cut catches you, look out, because market price will drop 1 or 2 dollars in 5 minutes and your capital loss will not be made up for a year or more by the ongoing reduced dividends. I'm glad I looked in on ACG. Its going to end my procrastination and I am putting my shares up for sale at the market tomorrow. Good luck to you.