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OFT uses power to suspend a credit licence for the first time

The Office of Fair Trading has used its power to suspend a credit licence for the first time.

The watchdog has today suspended the consumer credit licence of Staffordshire-based Donegal Finance Limited, which traded as Donegal Finance, Donegal Investigations and Donegal Recovery.

The OFT concluded that suspending DFL’s licence is “urgently necessary to protect consumers”, but said it could not expand on why it had decided to suspend its licence at this time.

DFL was licenced to offer consumer credit, credit brokerage and debt collecting services. The suspension means it is now a criminal offence for DFL or any of its directors, employees or agents to engage in any of these activities using DFL’s licence.

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The firm has been invited to present its defence to the OFT. The OFT’s adjudicator will take this into account and decide whether to confirm the suspension or withdraw the licence altogether.

The suspension ends 12 months from 17 June, unless the OFT decides to withdraw DFL’s licence.

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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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