Hargreaves Lansdown assets and business inflows decline due to choppy markets

Fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown has reported lower assets under administration and new business inflows due to “geopolitical uncertainty, market volatility and weak investor confidence”.

For the six months ended December 31, assets under administration slipped 0.2% compared to the same period a year earlier but fell 6% to £85.9 billion since June 30.

Net new business dropped 24% year-on-year to £2.53 billion.

Despite declining assets under administration and business inflows profits increased. Pre-tax-profit grew 4% to £153.4 million on a 9% rise in revenue to £236.4 million.

The company also lifted the interim dividend by 2% to 10.3p a share.

Towards the end of last year financial markets were choppy as investors grappled with the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union, trade tension between the US and China and signals of an economic slowdown in China.

Chris Hill, chief executive, said: “The diversified nature of Hargreaves Lansdown has enabled us to continue growing despite a period of geopolitical uncertainty, market volatility and weak investor confidence.

“We have a significant long-term market opportunity and our recent investment in service and developing our proposition are bringing real benefits to the business and our clients, both in difficult times, such as the present, and as and when conditions improve.”

Mr Hill also said Brexit will continue to weigh on financial markets until greater clarity is provided to investors.

He said: “Brexit is on the horizon, and until certainty is reached, it will continue to impact markets and consumer confidence.

“Financial decision-making becomes trickier and clients can become reluctant to invest more in volatile markets and prefer to sit on the sidelines”.

He noted that uncertainty during the second half of the year, traditionally the firm’s busiest time, is “not helpful for predicting new flows and business volumes”, but he remains confident that the company will be “prepared operationally to deal with any outcome”.