Hargreaves Lansdown

Ticker HL.

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As of 21:24 16 Jul 2019
Market cap. Pound sterling
9,756.73 million
As of 21:24 16 Jul 2019

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Woodford backers sold shares - reports

Neil Woodford
Rex Features

Hargreaves Lansdown, the broker which championed funds run by Neil Woodford (pictured), is also in the papers this morning.

There are reports in the Times and the Daily Mail about share sales by directors of Hargreaves Lansdown last month.

The share sales took place before shares in Hargreaves Lansdown tumbled this week on the back of the problems facing Mr Woodford's funds.

The Daily Mail says that the group's research director Mark Dampier, his wife Annette, and the firm's chief investment officer Lee Gardhouse sold shares worth £6.1m last month.

The timing of the share sales is embarrassing and there is no suggestion of wrong doing, says the Times, which highlights the share sales by Mr Dampier and his wife.

The company, when contacted by the BBC, said it did not comment on directors' dealings.

Hargreaves shares slump on Woodford link

Hargreaves share chart

That suspension of Neil Woodford's Equity Income fund has hit shares in fund platform Hargreaves Lansdown, which included the fund in its flagship Wealth 50 fund recommendation.

Hargreaves removed the fund yesterday but investors have not responded positively.

Shares in the company have slumped more than 6% this morning, leaving it the biggest loser in the FTSE 100.

Shares have dropped 140 to 2,088.

Hargreaves profits climb 4% despite weak confidence

Man looks at piggy bank
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Pre-tax profit at financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown climbed 4% to £153.4m in the last six months of 2018.

The company said its net new business grew £2.5bn in the period, "despite a period of geopolitical uncertainty, market volatility and weak investor confidence".

The company added 45,000 new active clients to bring its total to 1,136,000.

Boss Chris Hill warned: "Brexit is on the horizon, and until certainty is reached, it will continue to impact markets and consumer confidence."

Hargreaves happy

£1 coins and notes
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Money continues to flow into investment firm and asset manager Hargreaves Lansdown.

New business inflows rose 10% to £7.6bn in the year to the end of January. That helped push pre-tax profits up 10% to £292.4m for the year, with revenues up 16% to £447.5m.

The number of new clients rose 137,000, which meant the total figure topped 1 million. Chief executive Chris Hill called that a milestone.

He was also pretty upbeat about the future, but cautioned in a statementthat "Brexit is on the horizon and the prevailing political and economic turbulence is having an effect on investor confidence".

IWG and Spire lead fallers

London Stock Exchange sign
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Hargreaves Lansdown, the investment firm, is reporting its full-year results on Tuesday but its shares are leading the FTSE 100 risers today - up 1.73% at £21.13.

Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland, which published its latest financials on Friday is the biggest faller, with its shares down 2.5% at 251.25p.

The wider FTSE 100 is up 9.28 points at 7,668.38.

On the FTSE 250, Regus-parent company IWG dominates the fallers, down 23.1% at 230.65p after it called off talks with potential buyers.

It is closely followed by Spire Healthcare, down 21.9% at 192.85p, which issued a profit warning on lower spending by the NHS.

The FTSE 250 is up 35.28 points at 20,670.61.

FTSE slides in morning trading

FTSE chart

The FTSE 100 has fallen 0.74%, or 56.76 points this morning to 7,605.

The biggest faller is financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, on the publication by the City Watchdog of proposals for investment platforms to cut possible consumer detriment.

Shares in the firm have fallen 4.18%, or 86 points, to 1,970.75.

£500bn investment platforms face FCA action

Man looks at piggy bank
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The City Watchdog is taking action to strengthen competition among investment platforms.

Companies such as Hargreaves Lansdown, Nutmeg and Interactive Investor manage some £500bn of savers' money.

The Financial Conduct Authority's probe has identified five groups of consumers it warns that the market is not working as well as it should for. It said they are:

- those who may benefit from switching but find it difficult or costly to do.

- those using direct-to-consumers platforms who particularly want to choose on the basis of price.

- consumers who use model portfolios.

- customers with large cash balances who may not be aware they are missing out on investment returns or on the interest they forego by holding cash this way;

- orphan clients, customers who were previously advised but no longer have any relationship with a financial adviser.

Proposals to tackle the problems include making it easier to switch platforms, tackling price discrimination between orphan and existing clients, and alerting customers who are holding large cash balances.