Distributions policies determine how much of a business’s profits are distributed to its owners or investors. The policies may affect how often the business pays its distributions, whether it retains a permanent working capital reserve, and if it will make accelerated distributions during certain periods. Distributions policies may also consider the impact of taxes and transaction costs. These factors are important in determining the success of a distribution strategy as it compares to other investment alternatives.
The policy can vary depending on the type of product a company distributions policies produces, and how much money it has to invest in distributions. Some businesses, for example, prefer to distribute their products through a retail chain, while others choose to distribute them through e-commerce channels. The policy can also influence how much time and money a business spends on distribution, as it might decide to prioritize shipping speed over lower cost or quality.
A family business’s distributions policy might be influenced by the fact that the individual members of the business are expected to use business profits to build wealth outside of the company. This could include investments in marketable securities, real estate or other operating businesses. A successful implementation of this type of distribution strategy can help families reduce their dependence on the family business.
Some business distributions are required under law, such as minimum annual distributions from qualified retirement plans. In some cases, the rules governing these required distributions specify that the amount must be determined by using a formula based on the owner’s life expectancy or the joint life expectancy of the owner and beneficiary, or it must be a certain percentage of the account balance.
In the context of a family business, a distributions policy is also important for the long-term financial health of a business. For some, the business is the primary source of income for family members, and a well-implemented distributions strategy can maximize the value of the business by ensuring that all family members have sufficient assets to live comfortably on a fixed income.
One way to reduce shortfall risk is to adopt a cash-reserve distribution strategy. In this approach, the business reserves a proportion of its net investment returns in cash, and only makes regular distributions when the firm is profitable enough to do so. This distributions strategy has been shown to improve plan survival rates compared to a regular distribution strategy, especially when transaction costs and taxes are taken into consideration.
In times of crisis, it is essential that banks increase their lending supply and support the economy. Recommendations on dividend suspension may be a way to achieve this, by channelling more capital into the banking system. However, the results of our analysis suggest that such recommendations should go hand in hand with further conceptual thinking on measures to mitigate impediments to buffer use during recessions. This would allow for the full benefits of these policies to be realised in terms of supporting recovery and economic growth.