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Week in numbers

28% – the percentage of working homeowners over 50 who plan to use equity release to help fund their retirement, according to LV=

61% – According to Gocompare.com 65% of university students say money worries are the biggest source of stress they face

34% – One third of the nation’s are defined as “at risk of failure” in the next 12 months.

62% – The percentage of brokers who believe they will do more bridging business over the next year.

100% – The proportion of people who will be glad to see pay day lenders regulated (apart from pay day lenders of course).

80% – The rise of mortgage complaints from the second half of last year compared to the first half of this year, according to the FSA.

40% – The proportion of UK households who expect their finances will deteriorate over the next 12 months, according to Markit.

£163,376 – The average house price in England and Wales, according to Land Registry’s data for August

2.7% – Euro area inflation estimate for September from the European Commission

7% – Proportion of UK drivers who can recognise common car tools such as a car jack or tyre pump when tested, says LV=

100,000 – number of FTBs who have turned to ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ since financial crisis in a bid to get on the property ladder, according to HSBC

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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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