Coronavirus: Hargreaves Lansdown adds record number of clients as stuck-at-home Britons turn to trading

August 07, 2020

Hargreaves Lansdown has reported a record number of net new clients, as thousands of Britons turned to share trading during the lockdown.

The fund supermarket said it added 188,000 net new clients, bringing the number of active clients to more than 1.4 million and pushing new business to a high of £7.7bn.

Christopher Hill, chief executive, told Reuters: "These are very uncertain times."

"One thing that COVID-19 has demonstrated to us all is a need for resilience... that's how people are approaching their savings now."

The financial firm's shares closed up 1.89% on Friday after it revealed a 24% surge in pretax profit to £378.3m for the 12 months ending 30 June.

The UK stock market suffered some of the biggest falls in a decade during the first quarter, due to the global coronavirus meltdown.

However, it has recovered since then, helped by a surge in trading from people stuck at home during the lockdown.

Last year was a tough one for Hargreaves Lansdown - it was heavily criticised after the collapse of Neil Woodford's fund, which it previously praised.

In its financial report, the firm said it was "essential that we learnt from the experience surrounding the Woodford issue last year".

While Hargreaves' total assets under administration climbed 5% to £104bn, this was less than the 8% rise recorded at the same point last year.

Meanwhile, Standard Life Aberdeen saw its first-half profit fall 30%.

The asset manager blamed the pandemic and the withdrawal of assets by a major client.

Its shares closed up 0.65% on Friday.

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