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Integrity banks on Nordic region

Investment boutique Integrity Asset Management believes that yields on equities in the financials sector are better value than convertibles.

Financials make up the biggest sector weighting of the newly launched Elite Integrity European income fund of funds at 24.8 per cent.

Integrity points out that although this sector mainly comprises banks, it also includes other firms involved in financial services.

Equity income managers often invest in banks because they tend to offer higher yields than other sectors but the fallout from the credit crunch has had a negative impact on the yields of many UK equity income funds.

Integrity does not invest in any UK equity income funds but has limited exposure to UK banks through some of the European income funds it holds.

The underlying holdings include Standard Chartered Bank and a small weighting to HSBC, rather than the major UK banks that have been hit by the credit crunch.

In geographical terms, fund manager Colin Fogwill likes the Nordic region, excluding Iceland. Iceland’s currency and banking system have struggled with the effects of the credit crunch but the rest of the region has fared relatively well.

Fogwill says: “The Nordic region in general has not been hit by the sub-prime contagion and it is playing out energy quite well.

“I also think banks should be a good investment. I am not saying over the next month or next year but I think there is good value in shares on a two to three-year view.”

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