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&#39Equitable regulator&#39 Roberts on the move to new FSA job

The regulator most closely linked to the Equitable Life debacle, Martin Roberts, is moving to a part-time position advising the FSA on the international aspects of insurance regulation.

FSA insurance firms division director Roberts will be replaced by Lloyd&#39s of London director of regulation David Gittings. Roberts, 55, is one of the few constants in the Equitable saga, having been in charge of the insurance industry as far back as 1989. He was responsible for insurance regulation at the DTI from 1989 to 1992, at the Treasury from 1998 and 1999 and at the FSA since.

He has been repeatedly criticised by LibDem trade and industry spokesman Vincent Cable who has demanded that Roberts answer for the regulatory role in the Equitable debacle.

Roberts was attacked at the Treasury select committee last February. Pressed by Labour MP Jim Cousins, FSA chairman Howard Davies refused to allow Roberts to answer questions, causing a heated confrontation.

Cable says: “An awful lot of Equitable Life policyholders would like to have an explanation as to his role before he joined the FSA, an explanation he and the FSA have resisted giving.”

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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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