Steve Lansdown steps down as director
MULTI-millionaire Steve Lansdown is stepping down as a director of the stockbroking and pensions firm he helped to create.
Mr Lansdown, pictured, who was 60 last week, has decided not to seek re-election as a director of Hargreaves Lansdown, which he set up with Peter Hargreaves in a back bedroom during the 1980s.
It has since become a highly-respected financial institution, employing 650 staff who are based in plush £30 million offices in Bristol's Harbourside.
Mr Lansdown made the announcement as Hargreaves Lansdown reported a 21 per cent hike in pre-tax profits, to a record £152.8 million in the year to June 30.
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The bumper results triggered a bigger than expected dividend pay-out and means founders Mr Hargreaves and Mr Lansdown, who are still major shareholders, will receive £26.7 million and £16.7 million respectively.
Mr Lansdown, who now lives in Guernsey, said he wanted to step back from his business interests in Bristol.
"As far as Hargreaves Lansdown is concerned, I will still remain a major investor and I'm not going to ignore what they are doing," he said.
"But there is no need for me to stay on the board now. The people there are doing a great job and quite honestly, the company can look after itself.
"If they need me, they know where to find me."
Mr Lansdown, who continues to be a majority shareholder at Bristol City FC, said there was "no change" as far as his involvement with the club was concerned.
He stepped down as chairman in May last year but held on to his controlling interest in the club.
In February this year, he became the new owner of Bristol Rugby Club which he bankrolled to prevent it going out of business during the 2008/9 season.
Mr Lansdown said: "I still have interests in the football club, the rugby club, the future of Ashton Vale and, of course, Hargreaves Lansdown.
"But I don't live in Bristol any more and therefore, in a sense, it is no longer at the top of my agenda in the same way that it used to be."
But he stressed that his commitment to the football and rugby clubs were just as strong as ever.
Mr Lansdown, who took over as chairman of Bristol City from John Laycock in 2002, said he has a number of business interests which he is running from the Channel Islands.
Among these are investments in a number of renewable energy projects.
Hargreaves Lansdown's results bucked the gloom over the rest of the financial sector – during the same period there was a seven per cent slide in the FTSE All Share index.
The group said it expects to weather changes in regulation that will ban its fund management platform from receiving fees to list its products.
Today's £43.4 million payments to Mr Hargreaves and Mr Lansdown are on top of an earlier dividend, bringing the combined windfall for the pair, who founded the company in 1981, to £56.1 million for the year.
The company's Vantage platform, which allows investors to put their money into a range of products, attracted 45,000 new active clients in the last financial year, taking the total number to 425,000.
Assets under administration rose seven per cent to £26.3 billion despite the stock market declines, as it attracted more customers.
The company now has a 28.6 per cent share of the direct investment market in the UK.
The industry in which Hargreaves Lansdown operates is to receive a major shake-up, known as the Retail Distribution Review, which will come in two phases.
Firstly, at the end of this year financial advisers will be forced to charge for advice. This will not impact Hargreaves Lansdown as it already charges, although the company said the change could help attract new customers.
Secondly, at the end of next year, fund management platforms such as Vantage will be banned from receiving commission from fund managers for listing their products.
Fund platforms will instead charge consumers directly for using their services but Hargreaves Lansdown said it was confident that it could cope with changes, provided they are applied fairly across the industry.