Government's Lloyds Banking Group share sell off attracting huge number of first-time investors, claims Hargreaves Lansdown

Catherine Neilan
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"If you see Sid.. Tell him" - the iconic ad campaign for British Gas' IPO in 1986 (Source: British Gas/YouTube)

The government's plan to sell off £2bn-worth of Lloyds Banking Group shares is attracting first-time investors in their droves, creating a new generation of "Tell Sids".

Hargreaves Lansdown, which has received more than 170,000 individual registrations to take part in the public offering next spring, estimates that one in eight people have never invested in equities before.

The firm said the retail offering has "galvanised a small army of new investors into thinking about saving for their future".

But the sell-off has also attracted a huge number of people who took advantage of privatisations in the 1980s and 1990s with one in five of those registering this time around.

In fact, nine per cent of those signed up for Lloyds were among those swayed by the iconic "Tell Sid" advertising campaign for British Gas. A further nine per cent first took part in a share offer when British Telecom was privatised in three tranches between 1984 and 1993.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The Lloyds share offer has clearly captured the imagination of first time investors, as well as the original generation who took part in the privatisations of the eighties and nineties. This demonstrates how high profile public offerings can really motivate people to think about investing for their future.

"Despite the success of Isas and pension auto-enrolment, we are still a nation of borrowers, not savers. The public response to the Lloyds share offer is a welcome tonic to the rising level of unsecured borrowing, which is now at a five year high.

"Investors are keen to apply for shares through their Sipps and Isas. We don’t know yet whether this will be possible, but it shows investors value the ability to shelter their dividends from income tax, and protect their profits from capital gains tax too."

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