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Flotation has sharpened us up, claims Hargreaves

Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Peter Hargreaves says becoming a public company has made everyone at the firm sharper in the past 12 months.

Hargreaves and co-founder Stephen Lansdown both sold around 75m of shares when the firm was floated in May 2007.

Hargreaves says that a year on, the decision to go public has proved the right one despite the credit crunch.

He says: Lots of people perceived the business as a good one and that has been borne out in our first year as a public firm.”

The firm’s success has been highlighted by a 2 per cent rise in its Isa results.

Hargreaves says: “We were one of the few to make more money from the Isa season in 2008 than we did in 2007 while Sipps saw a massive increase. I am keen to see what our market share was, given the results of some providers out there.”

Hargreaves says the stockmarket is still one of the oddest and most volatile he has seen in his 30 years in financial services and it does have implications for the firm.

He says: “Lots of our earnings lie in the value of the investment so if markets go down 10 per cent, we lose that. What it means is that we are running a lot faster to stay where we are.”

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