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Own-label mineral water for the FSA while firms drown

When I visited the FSA’s gleaming offices in Canary Wharf recently I was agog at the opulence before my eyes.

The regulator even has its own-label bottled water, available sparkling or still. So the secret’s out – this is what we’re paying for. Obviously, tap water is not good enough for these fine people.

Income and profits at my firm have never been so bad in 11 years of trading. Our business levels have fallen so we have tightened our belts and cut our costs. And what is our reward for this prudence? Our fees are raised.

So farewell Hector Sants, outgoing chief executive officer of the regulator. I wonder what your next job will be – Humpty Dumpty, maybe?



Banned firm should have protected itself against fraudsters

I was interested to read the story on Mortgage Strategy Online last week about the FSA banning Walthamstow mortgage broker Kevin Byrne for lacking the integrity and competence to prevent his business, Forest Financial, being targeted by mortgage fraudsters. I know the easy answer is to blame the FSA here and rant on about how […]


Skipton to merge with Chesham

Skipton Building Society has revealed it is to merge with rival Chesham Building Society, as it announces pre-tax profits of £63.5m, up £41.0m on last year’s £22.5m.


Property shortage boosts asking prices but experts say it won’t last

Optimistic sellers boosted asking prices by more than £7,000 during the past month, but experts say this jump is unsustainable. According to Rightmove’s latest index, asking prices went up 3.2% in the past month, the highest rise in the measure since April 2007. The average asking price now stands at £229,398 compared with £222,261 in […]

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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