Investors owning FTSE 100 trackers or holding individual shares from the blue-chip index collected a combined £72bn last year.

The sum compares to £62bn received during 2011 from large-cap shares, according to statistics compiled by Capita Registrars and announced this week.

The share registrar claimed total dividends from all UK-quoted shares came to £80bn during 2012, up £11.2bn, or 16%, on the year before.

The improvement was supported by special dividends from the likes of Vodafone and Cairn Energy, which totalled almost £7bn, plus an early quarterly dividend from HSBC.

Capita Registrars said the "true underlying" dividend advance for both the entire market and FTSE 100 index last year was 9%.

Last year's £80bn aggregate payout set a new all-time record for UK shares, both in nominal and real terms. Adjusted for inflation, the previous high occurred during 2008 when £68bn was distributed.

The banking crash, subsequent recession and BP's dividend suspension had caused UK distributions to drop to £58bn by 2010.

Capita Registrars also claimed this week that the top five dividend-paying shares within the FTSE 100 -- Vodafone, Royal Dutch Shell, HSBC, BP and GlaxoSmithKline -- represented £30bn, or 37%, of the market's entire payout.

The market's top 15 shares represented 59%, the registrar added.

Capita Registrars said this week:

"2013 starts with the economy still bumping along the bottom. There are some bright patches, such as signs of revival in the mortgage market, and a relatively robust employment market, which has continued to defy the doommongers.

Yet there is little to spur a rapid return to growth, as consumption, investment and government spending remain under pressure, while Britain's main trading partners are also sluggish."

But after comparing the income available from shares with that from government bonds and cash, Capita Registrars declared:

"It is clear that equities continue to offer the best prospect of income for investors. Not only that, but they offer the opportunity of income growth as well as the potential for capital returns."

The share registrar noted FTSE 100 dividends fell an "unexpected" 0.7% during October, November and December, which prompted the firm to reduce its projection for overall 2013 dividends from £81bn to £79bn.

However, the registrar said its forecast still represented underlying payout growth of 7% and that the FTSE 100 would produce overall dividends of £70bn this year.

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