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Society of Mortgage Professionals hires operations manager

Vishal Pandya Society of Mortgage Professionals 2016

The Society of Mortgage Professionals has appointed Vishal Pandya as its new operations manager.

Pandya, who was most recently a mortgage and protection manager at HSBC, will support head of professional development Lee Travis in growing membership and raising the profile of the organisation.

Travis says: “Vishal will be focusing on enhancing our overall proposition to ensure that we deliver even more value back to our membership, as we strive to contribute to the development and sustainability of the mortgage and protection sector.

“Additionally, he will be helping to identify the necessary revisions to our business plan, as we seek to further our influence with the public.

“Vishal’s experience in the banking sector will also enable us to re-examine our strategy, with a view to forming closer relationships with corporate advisers to complement our links with smaller advisory firms.”

Vishal says: “We are aiming to emulate the way the Personal Finance Society have extended their reach with consumers and to enhance our role on all fronts in the mortgage market.

“We are the only dedicated professional body for mortgage advisers, with more than 7,800 individual members, and in the future will be looking to broaden our support, particularly in the protection and general insurance sectors.”

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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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