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OBSR upgrades three funds

Three funds have been upgraded from single-A to double-A ratings by OBSR.


Audrey Ryan, the manager of the Aegon UK Opportunities fund, has been credited for “diligent investment approach” on this mandate along with the Ethical Equity fund she runs, which also has an AA-rating.

OBSR says it also has “high conviction” in experienced fund manager Richard Plackett, and has therefore upgraded the BlackRock UK Special Situations fund. The ratings service says he has “proven ability to deliver attractive relative returns through all cap funds in a variety of market conditions”.

Standard Life Investments has also seen an upgrade on the UK Equity Growth fund, which is run by Karen Robertson.

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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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