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Consumers are well aware of right to complain says ABI

The Ombudsman&#39s annual report shows customers are well aware of their right to complain according to the ABI, with complaints to the FOS for the period April 2003 to March 2004 at a record high.

ABI head of life and pensions Chris Kenny says the report indicates industry initiatives to make consumers aware of their right to complain are working.

The FOS annual report shows the majority of complaints were on endowment policies. The number of these complaints doubled in one year to a total of 50,000. The ABI recently published a revised version of its Endowment Code with updated advice for the insurance industry as to how to help customers who believe they may suffer a shortfall and wish to complain.

Kenny says: “The industry has worked hard to make information clearer and more accessible to customers and to improve complaint handling. Today&#39s system, which allows customers to appeal to the completely independent FOS, is fair and efficient.”

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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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