October 10, 2019 / 6:18 AM / 10 days ago

Hargreaves Lansdown assets up 3% on new business, market gains

LONDON (Reuters) - British investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV.L) said its total assets rose 3% in the quarter to the end of September, driven by net inflows of client cash and market gains, although investment sentiment was weak.

Total assets under administration were 101.8 billion pounds ($124.45 billion), it said in a statement, up from 99.3 billion pounds at the end of June. Net new business contributed 1.7 billion pounds while markets added a further 800 million pounds.

The new business wins come during a tough period for the company, with many of its clients trapped in a suspended fund run by Neil Woodford and long championed by Hargreaves on its best-buy list, used by clients to pick funds.

Hargreaves made no mention of Woodford in its statement on Thursday and instead focused on the growth in assets.

“I’m pleased to report a solid start to our financial year for client, net new business and revenue growth. We continue to focus on our strategy of delivering excellent service, information and value during these continued uncertain times for our clients,” Chief Executive Chris Hill said.

As well as money from a net 35,000 new clients, the Bristol-based company also benefited from a trend among some clients to consolidate their wealth onto its platform, Hargreaves said.

The company’s cash management service, Active Savings, also took in net new money while transfers of books of business from JPMorgan and Baillie Gifford added 900 million pounds, it said.

Despite the growth in assets, which helped group revenue rise 6% year-on-year to 128.1 million pounds, investor sentiment among its UK retail client base remained weak.

“We have... seen new business in the period being impacted by weak investor sentiment arising from continuing Brexit and political uncertainty in the UK and wider global macro issues such as trade tariffs,” the company said.

Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Rachel Armstrong

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