Hargreaves Lansdown shares soar as assets reach record high

HARGREAVES Lansdown was the biggest riser on the FTSE 100 yesterday after assets under management surged to a record level at the start of the year.

The investment firm brought in a £1bn net inflow of new funds in the first three months of 2012.

Total assets under administration, including the lift from investment performance, increased by £2.6bn, or 11 per cent, to £26bn, in part because of the traditional rush in the period before the end of the tax year.

The growth comes despite anxiety in the investment community over the health of the European economy. Defaults from the single currency are inevitable, Peter Hargreaves, co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, told City A.M.

“Which of the economies are going to leave the Eurozone? It is not whether or not [they leave]. [Ordinary] people are less stupid than politicians. Most people realise these countries cannot exist in the euro.”

The firm said indebted southern European economies “remain a concern” but equity trading volumes are up 12 per cent on the year-to-date.

Recovering markets and rising asset values, as well as new business flows drove a 17 per cent improvement in operating revenue at the firm during the period compared with a year earlier.

Chief executive Ian Gorham said in the statement that the firm had seen an “encouraging” start to April.

Shares in Hargreaves Lansdown closed up 5.61 per cent at 508.5p.