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Will Legal & General Group plc, Hansard Global plc and Chesnara plc boost your portfolio returns?

2016 has been a disappointing year thus far for investors in Legal & General (LSE: LGEN). That’s because the diversified financial services company has posted an 18% fall in its share price, with it showing little sign of mounting a successful recovery.

Yet looking ahead, Legal & General appears to have significant total return potential. A key reason for this is its yield, which currently stands at 6.4% and with its dividends being covered 1.4 times by profit, there appears to be considerable headroom for Legal & General to increase those dividends at a faster rate than its profitability over the medium-to-long term.

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On this topic, Legal & General is expected to increase earnings by 7% in each of the next two years. While this is roughly in line with the wider market’s growth rate, Legal & General trades on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 11.1, which indicates that there’s significant upward rerating potential. And with it having a diversified range of services and operating on a global scale, Legal & General’s risk/reward ratio appears to be highly enticing.

Think long term

While Legal & General has fallen since the turn of the year, shares in investment specialist Hansard (LSE: HSD) have risen by 3%. That’s despite the company being expected to report a fall in its earnings of a massive 52% this year, although it’s due to bounce back with bottom line growth of 16% in 2017. And with its most recent trading update stating that Hansard continues to experience increased new business levels compared to the prior year, its medium-term outlook remains encouraging.

Shares in Hansard currently trade on a P/E ratio of 21.3 and even though this is relatively high, they still offer upbeat capital gain prospects. That’s because when their high rating is combined with their strong growth potential it equates to a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.3, which indicates that now could be a good time to buy a slice of the business for the long term.

Value for money

Meanwhile, 2015 was a strong year for life and pension book manager Chesnara (LSE: CSN), with it reporting a rise in gross cash generation of 3.8% as it continued to maximise value from the existing books of business. In addition, the firm’s acquisition of the Waard Group added a further £39.9m in cash and with Chesnara seeking out further acquisitions, its shares could enjoy a boost over the medium-to-long term.

Although Chesnara’s dividend was increased by just 2.9% in 2015, it still yields a mightily impressive 6.4%. With interest rates set to remain low over the medium-to-long term Chesnara could therefore become increasingly in vogue for yield-hungry investors. Therefore, its share price potential remains impressive, with its P/E ratio of 13.7 indicating that it offers good value for money.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of Legal & General Group. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.