Distributions from managed funds (Australian mutual funds) fell dramatically in the wake of the financial crisis. Some funds are now beginning to again pay significant distributions. More generally, dividends are rising.
For the January-March quarter, I got a $2035 distribution from the Colonial First State Developing Companies Fund, which is more than the sum of distributions received in 2008, 2009, and 2010. On the other hand, CFS Future Leaders paid out just $23 and CFS Diversified $71, and my other CFS funds seem to only be paying annual distributions. CAM.AX, CIF.AX, AOD.AX, and PMC.AX are all paying a reasonable level of regular dividends. IPE.AX hasn't paid a dividend since 2008 and EFG.AX since 2007 (no surprise there).
Snork Maiden got $236 from Celeste Small Companies and smaller amounts from property and fixed interest funds.
In the US TFS Market Neutral made its biggest distribution to date at the end of 2010 and there was a decent distribution from the China Fund. Other dividends are small or non-existent.
Receiving distributions is not necessarily a good thing as it means you have to pay tax (though it is the only way to get tax credits attached to company profits in Australia). But it is a sign that funds are doing well when they have to pay out money. I wonder how a strategy that sold funds that made big payouts and bought ones that didn't would do?