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MLC to merge sheltered growth fund with conservative portfolio

MLC is set to merge its £30m sheltered growth fund with the £242m MLC
conservative portfolio after overwhelming support from shareholders.

Shareholders voted with 99.03 per cent in favour of the merger in the electoral reform society-run ballot.

The sheltered growth fund was the only MLC vehicle that was not part of its
multi-manager portfolio of products and was managed by Henderson Global Investors.

MLC says although it was pleased with Henderson, it is now firmly in the multi-manager arena.

The conservative portfolio has nine fund managers and holds 70 per cent of
its assets in bonds and cash, with 30 per cent in equities.

MLC head of investment Bobby King says: “The size of the vote in favour of the merger was particularly pleasing. Both funds are designed as low-risk investments but investors will see a number of benefits as a result of the transfer.

“We believe that a multi-manager approach, spreading risk across asset classes and investment managers, leads to a better mix of risk and return.”

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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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