Hargreaves Lansdown bolsters customer base

 
Michael Bow
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INVESTMENT firm Hargreaves Lansdown yesterday said 133,000 more people started using its fund platform services over the past 12 months, with 33,000 people taking up the service since the start of the year alone.

The FTSE 100 fund supermarket saw a record net inflow of money from clients in the three months ending March, as a growing number of people decided to dabble in the stock market.

Assets under administration – a key measure of how much is invested through its service, increased by £2.3bn over the quarter to £45.7bn, bolstered by a net inflow of £1.83bn.

The business now boasts about 617,000 customers, the largest platform in an increasingly competitive price market due to recent regulatory changes.

“We are happy with our current strong position, but not complacent,” chief executive Ian Gorham said.

“As the recent price changes continue to be absorbed we will keep the marketplace under review and listen to the feedback from our clients to ensure we remain the best value place for the UK public to buy investments.”

The company reported a six per cent rise in revenue for the quarter to £73.7m. It added that operating costs had been “well controlled”.

Gorham said recent pension changes, including plans announced by George Osborne to allow retirees to access their pension pots without the need to buy an annuity, would deliver a boon to Hargreaves’ business.

He added moves by top fund manager Neil Woodford to establish his own fund management company was also likely to propel further interest in the investment platform.

“We look forward with optimism to a successful full year and new and exciting opportunities,” Gorham added.

The business, which is unusual among some finance companies in having a debt-free balance sheet, was founded in Bristol by Peter Hargreaves and Stephen Lansdown in 1981, a city it remains based in to this day.

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