Headline global dividends fell by $26.4 billion to $1.15 trillion in 2015, largely due to the strength of the US dollar, according to the Henderson Global Dividend Index.
Global dividends decreased by 2.2 per cent in 2015 – the first decline in the seven-year history of the Henderson Global Dividend Index.
The index, compiled by Henderson Global Investors, found that much of the decline in the global dividends could be attributed to the strength of the US dollar.
But looking beyond the impact of the strong US dollar, there are "several reasons to be optimistic", according to the report.
"North America – the engine of global dividend growth – hit a new high, while in Europe there was encouraging underlying growth," said Henderson.
"There were also encouraging signs that Japanese companies are paying attention to encouragement from policymakers and investors for higher dividend payments.
"The UK was the exception among developed markets given the FTSE 100's high concentration of oil and mining stocks which have been impacted by the current commodity price clump," said the report.
Headline growth in 2016 should improve as the currency effect dissipates, said Henderson.
"However, the global underlying growth rate is likely to be lower as the full impact of lower commodity prices and economic growth will be felt in the emerging markets," said the report.