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Hunt for Income - March 2015



    This has required some ingenuity on the part of investors and fund managers in the quest for yield. It has been necessary to dig deep to unearth the best sources of income across the asset classes.

    The US Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates later in 2015, but in the meantime there are plenty of other factors keeping yields low.

    In the UK, interest rates have remained at a record low of 0.5 per cent for six years following the Bank of England’s decision on March 5 2009 to reduce them from 1 per cent.

    Adrian Lowcock, head of investing at Axa Wealth, says: “Since then, we have seen expectations of interest rate rises continually pushed back.

    “As the UK economy continues to strengthen and unemployment falls, most experts now believe interest rates will rise in 2016, possibly sooner.

    “However, with inflation so low, there is currently little pressure for the Bank of England to raise rates.”

    So, where should investors be looking? Savers will have seen little reward for their good habits.

    Meanwhile, the impending changes to pensions, leaving retirees to find their own income if they choose not to buy an annuity, means there is more need for yield than ever.

    Mr Lowcock suggests that equities continue to offer attractive yields to investors.

    “Equities are an attractive long-term investment for those looking to generate an income or grow their investments,” he notes.

    “There are also funds for the more cautious investors that look to protect capital whilst delivering above-inflation returns.”

    For Martin Cholwill, manager of the Royal London UK Equity Income fund, the pension freedoms are an important investment theme.

    “I think we’re in a world of anaemic growth. We might see a modest rate rise at some stage, but I think in essence interest rates [will] stay very low for a long period,” he says.

    “And so if you look at the yield on the stockmarket… that’s very attractive compared with income opportunities elsewhere. Government bonds, certainly in the UK, remain very low. Returns on cash stay very low.

    “If you look at the UK stockmarket, there’s a lot of good companies that are well capitalised; companies that can grow their earnings against the background of modest growth.

    “So I think the stockmarket remains a happy hunting ground for those investors in the search for income.”

    Income can come from a range of asset classes, though, so perhaps investors would be wise to build up a diversified portfolio.

    Ellie Duncan is deputy features editor at Investment Adviser

    In this special report


    Please answer the six multiple choice questions below in order to bank your CPD. Multiple attempts are available until all questions are correctly answered.

    1. On which date in 2009 did the Bank of England decide to lower interest rates to 0.5 per cent?

    2. In the latest Budget, the chancellor announced a reduction in the lifetime allowance for pension pots from £1.25m to what?

    3. Approximately what percentage of the US market pays no dividend at all?

    4. In 2014, how much did the UK real estate market return?

    5. Real estate pricing in Ireland was up by how much in 2014?

    6. The Investment Association UK Equity Income sector was the best selling sector in January with net retail sales of how much?

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