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Baxter to lead MLP push

Advocate of fee-based advice joins German giant to build UK wealth management business

Fee champion John Baxter is taking over as UK chief executive of German advice firm MLP and one of his first tasks will be to establish a wealth management business.

True Financial Planning and Baxter Fensham director Baxter, an outspoken advocate of fee-based advice, launched franchising operation True in 2003 after ear- lier establishing a fee-based wealth management model at Baxter Fensham. BF co-director Giles Pidcock is taking the reins at BF while Baxter will maintain his shareholding in True but the firm’s long-term future is still being thrashed out.

The average age of UK advisers at MLP is in the 20s and Baxter’s remit is to set up a wealth management business that will build assets quickly and provide a career progression path.

He is also looking to recruit senior and experienced advisers and to find advisers nearing the end of their careers looking to convert to a fee-based model to boost the resale value of their businesses.

Over the years, Baxter has locked horns with many members of the advisory commu- nity, saying it is not worth paying a fee for the standard of service that most IFAs offer. The 36-year-old Scotsman says he is determined to turn advisers into professionals as respected as doctors, dentists and solicitors.

MLP has 75 advisers and reported a 58m profit in November 2005. The com- pany has around 570,000 clients across Europe.

Baxter says: “I decided in summer 2005 that I wanted to be in control of a significant and scaleable operation that is seen as being partly responsible for evolving the advice industry into a profession in the UK, touching as many clients as possible. MLP is the only company that I have spoken to that mat- ches my values and I am looking forward to getting our message out.”


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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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