Philip Thomas should check the definition of a bucketshop as one definition is an “unregistered firm of stockbrokers that engages in fraudulent speculation”. This would suggest his comments about Hargreaves Lansdown are libellous (Money Marketing, October 11).
Mr Thomas continues to display a total lack of understanding of the Hargreaves Lansdown business model. It is perfectly true that we have a direct discount broking side. This offers people who do not wish to have advice the best possible prices for financial products. In addition, we have an execution-only stockbroking service which has a flat fee of £9.95 for online deals. The stockbroking division has won a number of awards. These have been won by the public voting for us and not the industry, which speaks volumes about our service.
On top of this, we have a direct pension side which has also spun off a retirement division giving advice and a further pension division giving advice on group personal pensions and so on.
Finally, we have a wealth management division, an IFA division and an investment management capability. This means clients can choose the type of service they wish to have and whether they want advice or to go the discount route.
Our October review that went out a few days ago contains research on well over 100 funds, as well as information on shares and the very latest on the Railtrack situation. The investment we have made in research, service and people is huge. Mr Thomas' remarks are totally unjustified but I would be del-ighted to show him round the company if he cares to phone me.
Mark Dampier Hargreaves Lansdown,