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Hargreaves bearish as firm announces strong half-year results

Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Peter Hargreaves says the current market volatility is the worst he has ever seen during his 30 year career in the industry.

Hargreaves says there is no doubt that this is now a bear market, claiming the nervousness comes thanks to a number of uncertainties.

He says: “The fact is that this volatility in the markets shows there are so many tangibles now playing a role whether it be recession or inflation pressures or the fall in the sub-prime markets. You also have a UK and US government that are effectively a lame duck. We’ve got to see an understanding of a number of these before any change comes of it.

Hargreaves words come off the back of strong half-year results from the firm that saw total assets under administration rise 45 per cent to £10.9bn.

Underlying profits rose 58 per cent to £27.2m between July and December 2007 while the group has announced a first interim dividend of 3.065 pence per share. Vantage assets also rose by some £700m during that period.

Hargreaves says that while people have often compared the group to a fund management firm, these results indicate that assets with HL do not suffer from the same fluctuations.

He says: “If a fund management firm is the hot shot you tend to see assets flow into that firm at a rapid rate, however by the same token if market goes down assets tend to get taken off the table far quicker.

“When markets fall the effect for us that investors tend to keep their money in cash and we keep that cash.”

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