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Brokers respond to HBOS decision not to bid for Abbey

Ray Boulger, senior technical adviser at Charcol, says: “It obviously got to the stage where HBOS has to put a bid in or withdraw. Competition would have been a major factor and it would have almost certainly been put to the competition authorities, which would have meant

a significant amount of management time taken up with it.”

Boulger also likens HBOS&#39s bid to the one that Morrisons made for Safeways. Once the bid had been made, the competition commision took it to referral, spurring other chains such as ASDA to make a bid.

He adds: “If HBOS had bid I would have surprised if it didn&#39t flush out any one else, and it will be interesting now to see if anyone comes forward in the light of this. But I suspect that Santander will now be given a clear run, which is good news for staff.”

Bob Riach, proprietor at Riach Independent Financial Advisers, says: “I would have preffered if it had gone to HBOS, as it is British. I&#39m not sure about Banco Santander. However, on the other hand, HBOS is too big already.”

And Mike Fry, director at Halton Insurance Services, says: “I wasn&#39t surprised when I heard the news, I thought it was a foregone conclusion. It would have been good if Abbey could have kept it in the UK, but it was never going to happen. Overall it is is probably a good thing, because HBOS own enough already.”

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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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