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Brown’s to blame for the state we’re in

Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Peter Hargreaves says the finger needs to be pointed at Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the grim state of the economy.

He believes the bleak outlook for the UK is thanks to the Government “screwing with the economy” and says all Brown has done in the past decade is spend lavishly, which has led to the undoing of the economy that he inherited.

He says: “Brown is now reaping what he sowed in spades. After untold quarterly growth, we should have 100bn saved up rather than being 100bn in debt. I would not even employ him in my postroom.”

He was speaking after Hargreaves Lansdown revealed a 42 per cent increase in underlying profit for the year ended June 30.

Despite ongoing market volatility, profit stood at 57.8m, up from 40.7m at the same point in 2007, while revenue also increased by 22 per cent to 120.3m.

Assets under administration rose by 9 per cent to 11.1bn. Recurring revenue reached 72 per cent, a 7 per cent increase over the pre- vious year.

Hargreaves says he expected the firm to do well in these conditions due to its customer service standards.

He says: “Ongoing service is a failing of the industry and it is something that has seen us pick up big chunks of business.

“The results are remarkable and I believe they are due to a number of reasons, whether it is people telling their friends, our website or those who dipped their toe in a few years back, putting more in now.”

Hargreaves says he expects Hargreaves Lansdown to do better as a publicly listed firm rather than a private company.

HL’s share price has fluctuated since it floated at 160p in May 2007, with a 12-month high of 239p and a low of 132p. Earlier this week, the share price stood at 191p.

He says: “Our aim has been to make the 75 per cent we still own worth more than the 100 per cent before flotation and I believe that we are well on the road to doing that, as indicated by our strong returns this financial year.

“Over the coming months we shall focus on exploiting opportunities which still exist, such as the transfer market, growth in demand for advice and discretionary services and protected rights pension monies, which will become eligible for our Sipp in October.

“We will also continue to suggest more appropriate investments for the billions of pounds that we believe are poorly invested elsewhere. We expect market conditions to remain challenging but our aim will be to emerge with an increased presence in the market.”

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