Hargreaves' asset values soar

Stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown said yesterday that it saw a 22 per cent increase in asset values in its first quarter, as the stock market rally encouraged investors.<br /><br />The firm said that total assets under administration stood at &pound;14.5bn at 30 September, compared to &pound;11.9bn at the end of June, while quarterly operating revenue rose 13 per cent to &pound;36.1m, mainly on the strength of its Vantage service.<br /><br />The broker added that it has also seen a 22 per cent rise in the assets held by its direct-to-private investor platform, Vantage, from &pound;10.7bn to &pound;13.1bn. The number of active Vantage clients during the quarter increased to 284,000 from 276,000.<br /><br />Chief executive Peter Hargreaves said that the growth in the value of assets under administration was largely due to the rise on the world&rsquo;s stock markets and &ldquo;unusually high inflows&rdquo; during the summer months.<br /><br />Assets under administration and management (AUM) grew to &pound;1.7bn from &pound;1.3bn the year-ago period.<br /><br />&ldquo;Whilst we are justifiably proud of the results of our first three months trading period, we are under no illusions that the level of the stock market and investor confidence will still have a significant part to play during the remainder of our financial year,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />The company expects increased Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowances for investors aged over 50 &ndash; which represents the bulk of its Vantage service clients &ndash; to provide another boost to profits from October 2009.<br /><br />Shares in the company dropped after the update, however the share price remains significantly higher than 12 months ago, when it was 170p.<br />