Dividends at a fifth of the world's biggest firms have hit dangerously high levels as shareholder payouts look set to hit a new record this year.

Investors in the 1,200 most valuable listed companies are set to receive a ground-breaking £1.1-trillion (about R21-trillion) in 2019, just a year after payouts topped £1-trillion for the first time, according to a study published by Henderson International Income Trust.

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