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BoI brings UK lending arms under one roof

Bank of Ireland is shaking up its operations in the UK to create a new umbrella operation, Bank of Ireland UK Financial Services, to oversee Bristol & West and its IFA brands.

The new operation will be headed by B&W Group chief executive Jeff Warren.

Bank of Ireland personal lending UK is being created within this operation, comprising B&W Mortgages, BoI Mortgages and Northern Ireland Investment Banking.

Former B&W Mortgages managing director Richard Brown is MD.

Former head of BoI mortgages Stewart Wright becomes MD of B&W Mortgages, with Roland McCormack stepping into his position at BoI.

IFA brands MX Financial Solutions and Chase De Vere fall under Warren&#39s remit.

BoI says it has decided to shake up its UK financial services to bring all its mortgages and unsecured lending operations into one division and focus on specific customer segments. It is also looking to drive forward its move into specialist markets such as equity release.

B&W, which offers a range of buy-to-let, self-certification and flexible loans, saw gross mortgage advances increase by 24 per cent to £13m from £10m in the past year.

Spokesman Dominic Toller says: “Bank of Ireland is carrying out an internal reorganisation but the brands seen by brokers and consumers will remain unchanged.”

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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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