The Chief Executive of the the Investment Association (IA), Chris Cummings, has commented on the challenges on dividend payments by companies caused by the COVID-19 outbreak:
First, IA expects boards to be taking decisions on their dividends based on what is best for their business over the long term and decide if any dividend payment is sustainable in light of the current market conditions and business needs.
Second, investment managers would certainly expect companies to follow the guidance of their regulator and have been supportive of companies that have stopped their dividend to retain much needed cash for the business so far.
Third, the current situation should not be used as an opportunity to re-base or reduce the dividend unnecessarily. Shareholders would expect companies to restart them as soon as it is prudent to do so.