Warren Buffett loves dividends. His beloved Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 0.36%) (BRK.B 0.21%) owns quite a few dividend stocks. Three of them have track records of at least 25 years of dividend increases.

But you might be surprised about how many members of dividend royalty the legendary investor really owns. Buffett's "secret portfolio" holds 31 Dividend Aristocrats.

Warren Buffett standing in front of microphones.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Like Baskin-Robbins

Just what is Buffett's "secret portfolio"? In 1995, investment firm New England Asset Management (NEAM) was acquired by General Reinsurance Corporation (Gen Re). Three years later, Berkshire bought Gen Re. NEAM doesn't hide its equity holdings; it reports them on a regular basis to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, these stocks are often overlooked by Buffett's followers even though they are owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

When it comes to Dividend Aristocrats, these "secret" Buffett stocks are like Baskin-Robbins ice cream: They come in 31 flavors. Below are all 31 of the Dividend Aristocrats in NEAM's portfolio:



Consecutive Years of Dividend Growth 

3M Industrials 64
Abbott Laboratories Healthcare 50
AbbVie Healthcare 50
Air Products & Chemicals Materials 40
Automatic Data Processing Information Technology 47
Becton, Dickinson Healthcare 50
Chevron (CVX 0.08%) Energy 35
Church & Dwight Consumer Staples 26
Coca-Cola Consumer Staples 60
Emerson Electric Industrials 65
ExxonMobil Energy 39
General Dynamics Industrials 25
Illinois Tool Works Industrials 58
International Business Machines Information Technology 28
Johnson & Johnson Healthcare 60
Kimberly-Clark Consumer Staples 50
Linde Materials 29
Lowe's Consumer Discretionary 48
McCormick Consumer Staples 36
McDonald's Consumer Discretionary 45
Medtronic Healthcare 45
NextEra Energy Utilities 28
PepsiCo Consumer Staples 50
PPG Industries Materials 50
Procter & Gamble Consumer Staples 66
Realty Income Real Estate 28
S&P Global Financials 49
Sysco Consumer Staples 53
Target Consumer Discretionary 50
VF Corp. Consumer Discretionary 48
Walmart Consumer Staples 49

Data sources: New England Asset Management 13-F, S&P Dow Jones Indices, and company filings. 

Several of the stocks on the list belong to an even more exclusive club than the Dividend Aristocrats -- the Dividend Kings. These stocks have increased their dividends for at least 50 consecutive years.

Biggest bets

Buffett's "secret portfolio" holds relatively small positions in most of these 31 Dividend Aristocrats. Chevron, though, stands out as a notable exception. As of the end of the second quarter of 2022, NEAM owned more than 2.15 million shares of the oil and gas giant.

Chevron also ranks as one of Berkshire's biggest bets. It's now the third-largest position in Berkshire's portfolio and has performed well so far this year.

NEAM doesn't have huge stakes in any of the other Dividend Aristocrats. The next two after Chevron are AbbVie and Procter & Gamble. At the end of Q2, NEAM owned 75,345 and 71,551 shares of these two stocks, respectively. 

Best of the bunch

It isn't easy to pick the best of these Dividend Aristocrats. I think that Chevron is one of the stocks directly owned by Berkshire Hathaway that is also in NEAM's portfolio that's most likely to soar in the fourth quarter. My reasoning is that oil prices will move higher and provide a catalyst for the top energy stocks.  

There are also some unstoppable trends that could benefit a few stocks on this list. For example, an aging population should drive increased demand for products developed by AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson. The shift to clean energy should work to Air Products' advantage as it produces blue and green hydrogen. 

Many of these stocks will probably be big winners over the next decade and beyond, though. The power of growing dividends to boost total returns is no secret at all.