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IFAs critical as Gerrard offloads smaller investors

Gerrard is advising clients with investments under £30,000 to close their portfolios and move to rival discretionary managers as market volatility has made their holdings hard to manage.

The stockbroker is recommending that more than 1,000 users of its unit trust service liquidate their portfolios.

It is offering alternative options to the small proportion of clients who entered the service directly but has had to steer independently advised investors back to their IFA for further assistance.

The decision has disappointed IFAs, who argue that Gerrard was happy to accept smaller investments when conditions were less difficult. IFAs say they should have been consulted before the move was made as a courtesy to them and their clients.

Gerrard head of intermediary business Brian Tora says: “The market has become more volatile so we may have trouble buying and selling small individual holdings. We are encouraging clients with less than £30,000 to move.”

Alan Steel Asset Management consultant Alan Adam says: “If it is not careful, Gerrard is going to shoot itself in the foot. It is upsetting a lot of people at the moment.”

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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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