Hargreaves Lansdown in profit surge

Hargreaves Lansdown on Thursday posted a 38 per cent rise in first-half underlying pre-tax profit, aided by buoyant global markets, and the British wealth manager and stockbroker said it was well placed to build on the momentum.

The Bristol-based company, which provides investment management products and services to private investors in the UK, declared an interim dividend of 4.5 pence.

For the six months to 31 December, pre-tax profit before items rose to £59.3m from £43.1m last year. Revenue grew 30 per cent to £97m.

Hargreaves Lansdown, which was founded in 1981 by Peter Hargreaves and Stephen Lansdown, said its value of total assets under administration grew 27 per cent to £22.3bn as at 31 December, from £17.5bn at end-June.

The Bank of England's decision on interest rates later on Thursday will be crucial as Britain battles with soaring inflation and a fitful economic recovery.

Financial markets see a one-in-five chance that the Bank of England will raise interest rates from their record low 0.5 per cent after what is likely to be its most finely balanced decision in years.

Hargreaves shares, which have nearly risen 87 per cent over the past year as stock markets recovered.

Chief executive Ian Gorham said: "Despite increased costs relating to our new office building, continued investment in IT systems, increased loyalty bonus payments to clients and most notably a Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) additional levy of £3m, our costs have been tightly controlled."