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Market volatility is worst I’ve seen, says Hargreaves

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

He believes there is no doubt this is now a bear market due to a nervousness caused by uncertainty. He says: “The fact is that this volatility in the markets shows there are so many tangibles now playing a role, whether it is recession or inflation pressures or the fall of the sub-prime market. You also have UK and US governments that are effectively lame ducks.”

Hargreaves Lansdown has released strong results for the second half of 2007, showing total assets rising by 45 per cent from £7.5bn to £10.9bn. Underlying profits leapt by 58 per cent from £17.2bn to £27.2m.

“We are pleased with returns but we do expect market conditions to have an effect on returns in the next quarter as the market goes down,” says Hargreaves.

Dennehy Weller & Co managing director Brian Dennehy says: “It was pretty uncomfortable sitting at my desk in October 1987 but I have never enc-ountered the range of uncertainties that I have seen now as no one knows how deep it will go and how long it will last.”

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