Bristol financial firm Hargreaves Lansdown now controls £26bn of customers' cash
ONE of Bristol's most prestigious firms has marked yet another milestone in its phenomenal success story.
Hargreaves Lansdown, which employs 600 people at its Harbourside headquarters, has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the most respected financial institutions in the country.
The stockbroker and pensions adviser revealed yesterday that it controlled a staggering £26 billion worth of its customers' cash.
The announcement triggered a five per cent increase in the value of the firm on the Stock Market – the biggest increase of the day.
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And Peter Hargreaves, the multi-millionaire who founded the firm 30 years ago along with Bristol City chairman Stephen Lansdown, was typically bullish about the latest chapter in Bristol's biggest success story.
He said: "The fact is that we are continuing to take more and more of the market from our competitors every month.
"I started this company in a bedroom 30 years ago and we are now a FTSE 100 company – there is not many other people in the country who could say they have done what we have."
The 65-year-old has stepped down from the day-to-day management of the firm but still plays a key role in the company.
He said: "The fact is more and more people are coming to us because we offer the best customer service and we get results.
"People trust us because we have no borrowings and we have plenty of cash reserves.There are not many other companies who could say the same thing as us, even the banks. It is something that we have always been proud of."
He said: "I am also proud of the fact that there is a great management team in place. I can now come and go as I please safe in the knowledge that this company is in safe hands.
"The FSA did its best to put us out of business a few years ago by bringing in a lot of new regulations but we have recovered from that and if anything our position has got stronger over the last two years."
The amount of money earned by the firm has risen by 16 per cent over the last 12 months and it now controls £26 billion worth of its clients' cash in pension and investment funds.
Ian Gorham, the chief executive of the firm, said the latest successes had been achieved against the background of continuing economic turmoil.
He said: "The last three months remained a difficult period for the retail investment market. Investor confidence rose slightly but remains comparatively low. There remained a significant lack of innovative product or fund launches which are invariably a fillip to business."
He added: "Despite these conditions the company has fared exceedingly well. During the period leading up to the end of the calendar year we indicated the potential for a slowdown of asset gathering given economic conditions.
"However, our historically busy time leading up to the end of the tax year has been excellent, with net new business in February and March 2012 matching last year's record equivalent months.
"Markets have yo-yoed in line with the ever changing outlook for Europe.
"The indebted southern European economies remain a concern and we expect Europe to remain a prime driver of the state of investor confidence."
Despite the success of the firm over the last 12 months Mr Gorham admitted that the economy still faces tough times ahead."
Hargreave Lansdown's financial year comes to an end in June and the company is expected to have had one of its most successful years on record.