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Banks must do more to tackle fraud: Select Committee

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Banks need to do more to tackle online fraud, according to a Government spending watchdog.

A report from the Commons Public Accounts Committee says the internet has created opportunities for growth and innovation but has also opened the door to criminals.

The CPAC says the Home Office is responsible for reducing crime, but that banks also play a role.

However, the committee says banks are not doing enough and there is no benchmarking of their anti-fraud efforts.

It says: “Banks have an important role to play in protecting customers but the protection they provide is variable and some are keener to invest in educating customers and anti-fraud technology than others.”

The CPAC notes that banks do not want a detailed breakdown of performance in case fraudsters use the information to target the most vulnerable banks.

But it adds: “We can see that full detail in the public domain about which banks are more susceptible to what kinds of fraud could prove counter-productive, but there is clearly scope for more transparency over individual banks’ performance at a more aggregated level.”

The CPAC suggests the Home Office should set out minimum standards for banks on fraud prevention and require banks to report on their performance.

It wants the Home Office to do this by Spring 2018.

It also wants banks to draw up a “voluntary scheme” in the meantime to be more open with customers about the extent of fraud and how they are tackling it.

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Strong dollar can be a powerful driver of UK dividend growth in 2015

By Robin Geffen, fund manager and CEO 

This year threatens to be a challenging one for UK dividend hunters. Last year saw an all-time record amount paid out in UK dividends — some £97.4bn, according to research from Capita Dividend Monitor. Yet as Capita also pointed out, out the biggest single factor driving the growth in the fourth quarter of last year was easy to identify: the rising US dollar. 

In our view, this trend is much more than simply a one-quarter phenomenon. It is actually the most profound issue to get right as a UK equity income investor in 2015. We believe that the US dollar will continue to strengthen significantly from its current level. This is due more to the US economy’s demonstrable de-coupling from the rest of the world than to a view on the UK. The US has a strong chance of tightening monetary conditions this year without jeopardising growth or de-stabilising its housing market. The same can unfortunately not be said about the UK.

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