and am wondering what people think of the changes. I understand why the changes are being made, but is it a good thing?
Rules based investing is generally a good thing. If you are going to engage in rules based investing then the changes are long overdue IMO. That said, you're looking at a narrow slice of the market, so whether or not this is a good thing is directly related to whether or not investing in that slice of the market is a good thing. It has been in the past, but there is no guarantee it will be as successful in the future. Perhaps these changes will temper the prices of dividend growth stocks as people who bought into financials for that reason finally get the message that these particular stocks aren't dividend growers anymore. **** happens.