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Hargreaves U-turns on investment trust charges as assets hit £43bn

Hargreaves Lansdown has rolled back on a decision to charge clients extra for holding investment trusts as it announced a 43 per cent jump in assets to £43bn as at the end of last year. 

As part of its new RDR charging structure announced last month, Hargreaves decided to levy an additional 0.45 per cent charge for holding investment trusts.

A statement from Hargreaves chief executive Ian Gorham says: “I am pleased to say after a review of the changes, we have decided to reverse this proposal. Clients who hold investment trusts through Hargreaves Lansdown will therefore be better off than previously proposed.”

The move comes as Hargreaves announced assets under administration rose to £43bn in the second six months of 2013, a 43 per cent increase from £30.4bn in 2012.

The firm’s profit margins fell slightly from 65.6 per cent in 2012 to 65.2 per cent at the end of 2013.

Client numbers grew 77,000 to 584,000 in the six months to December 2013. Total net business inflows grew 70 per cent to £2.8bn, up from £1.65bn in the first half of the year.

Pre-tax profit for the period grew 11 per cent to £104m, up from £93.7m in the same period in 2012.

Hargreaves’ Vantage platform attracted a further 16 employer pension schemes with a further 12 committed. This takes the total number of employees to 32,000 with over £793m in assets.

The Platforum head of direct and workplace Jeremy Fawcett says: “Not only is Hargreaves Lansdown recruiting new customers but its existing clients continue to consolidate more of their wealth onto the platform because they like the service. It is not the cheapest service for many clients but our own research shows that is only top priority for 4 per cent of self-directed investors.”

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