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Here is my top ASX share to buy and hold through the 2020s

Well, we are officially in a new year and new decade. The 2010s proved to be an exceptional decade to have owned ASX shares in – far better than its predecessor, to be sure!

That’s despite the torch-bearing mob of articles throughout the decade predicting everything from a ‘double-dip’ recession and break-up of the Euro to war with North Korea and almost every other possible calamity under the sun.

But now the 2020s have begun and I think it’s a healthy thing to assume that this decade might not be as prosperous as the one that’s just passed for investors. I would rather be pleasantly surprised than unpleasantly surprised any day.

So saying this, my top ASX stock to buy and hold for the 2020s is… Washington H. Soul Pattinson & Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL). I already own some shares of ‘Soul Patts’ (the full name is quite the mouthful) but it’s a company that am only looking to add to this decade for three reasons.

Dividend Income

Soul Patts is one of the best dividend paying shares on the ASX – being one of only a handful of companies that have increased its dividend payments every year of this century so far (even through the GFC). The company has also never failed to pay a dividend since the company was founded in 1903.

That shows to me that the company knows what it’s doing and has the interests of its shareholders front of stage. I’m looking forward to another ten years of pay rises this decade from my SOL shares.

Diversity

Soul Patts is more of a conglomerate than a company as it owns large stakes in a wide array of ASX businesses. These include TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM), New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX: NHC) and Brickworks Ltd (ASX: BKW) as well as an interest in BKI Investment Co Ltd (ASX: BKI). Thus, Soul Patts is able to keep things afloat and running smoothly during good times and bad – which is great for me as a shareholder.

Management

Soul Patts has been run by the same family from its inception and prides itself on conservatism and respect for its shareholders. It’s for these values and long tradition of success that I have enormous faith in management to manage this business in shareholders’ interests. By running a diversified, healthy and conservative company that employs very little debt whilst maintaining (and increasing) a solid dividend, the company’s management does a good job of never keeping me up at night.

Foolish Takeaway

By always focusing on the long-term, I think Soul Patts is a great stock to own as we turn into another decade (the company’s thirteenth in existence). It’s a stock I’m not planning on selling, whether that be in 2020, 2030 or beyond.

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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen owns shares of Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Brickworks. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.