Hargreaves Lansdown has called for the Government to do a U-turn on plans to cancel the public sale of Lloyds shares.
Earlier this month the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the Government would not be selling its £3.6bn stake in the bank to retail investors, but will gradually sell the shares back to the market over the course of a year.
However, Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Ian Gorham says the Government should be encouraging people to invest. The firm has set up a petition asking the Government to reconsider the sale, which it says 374,000 people registered their interest in through Hargreaves Lansdown alone.
Gorham says: “We’re disappointed the Government plans to exclude the general public when selling its stake in Lloyds Banking Group. Rather than engage with working taxpayers willing to invest in our economy, the Government has favoured City institutions.
“Lloyds is one of the UK’s largest and most important companies, with the potential to reward shareholders over the long term. This is why Hargreaves Lansdown has written to the prime minister and set up a petition urging the Government to reconsider its decision.”
In the banks’ results published this morning, Lloyds announced an underlying profit of £1.9bn in Q3, but a £1bn PPI misselling charge hurt statutory profit, which was down to £0.8bn.
Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf says he is confident Lloyds will issue a “decent” dividend at the end of the year, and says “things don’t look too shabby for the bank” although he admits “it will take some time for the bank to recover its poise” following the fallout from Brexit.