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Hargreaves Lansdown shrugs off Woodford woes with full-year asset jump

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By Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) – British fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown <HRGV.L> on Thursday posted a forecast-beating 8.4% increase in full-year assets, boosted by a growing client base and net inflows of their savings.

Hargreaves, the UK’s biggest online investing platform, has been at the centre of a storm since the June suspension of Neil Woodford’s flagship equity income fund, which Hargreaves had championed for years on its ‘Best Buy’ list.

Despite the ire of clients and policymakers, net flows have stood up well since, with total assets under administration of 99.3 billion pounds at end-June, up from 91.6 billion pounds a year earlier, beating a company supplied consensus of 15 analysts for 98.7 billion pounds.

“We recognise that there are industry headwinds and that the environment continues to be difficult and we remain vigilant to these conditions,” Chief Executive Chris Hill said.

An increase in clients numbers by 133,000 to 1.22 million combined with the trend for clients to consolidate their savings on the Hargreaves Lansdown platform, drove net new business of 7.3 billion pounds, it said.

Market gains added a further 400 million pounds.

However, Hargreaves said revenues were impacted by reduced client demand to trade shares on its platform given uncertainty around Brexit, while its decision to waive platform fees for clients affected by Woodford was costing 360,000 pounds a month.

(Reporting by Simon Jessop, editing by Sinead Cruise)

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