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HL Company History

A timeline of events that have been instrumental in shaping Hargreaves Lansdown

1981

Start of Hargreaves Lansdown

  • Founded by Peter Hargreaves and Stephen Lansdown.
  • Providing information to clients on unit trusts and tax planning matters.

First investment newsletter

  • Titled ‘The Unit Investor’, it highlighted two UK Equity Income funds: Henderson Income & Growth, and Save & Prosper Income & Growth.
  • Marking the beginnings of our direct, information-driven approach to helping clients choose their own investments.
1986

Discretionary investment management service launched

  • Financial Services Act introduced regulation and authorisation of investment businesses.
1987

Hargreaves Lansdown PEP (Personal Equity Plan – an early version of an ISA) launched

  • Over the summer of 1987, there was a frenzy from clients eager to get into the stock market. Unit trust launches were proving so popular that even estate agents were mailing application forms to their customers.
  • This was HL’s first experience of handling very high volumes of business.

Stock market crash

  • Whilst many fund managers and brokers simply switched off their telephones and refused to take client instructions, HL continued to talk to clients and guide them through the turbulent time.
  • HL earned clients’ trust which saw them bring more of their investments to us, recommend their friends and remain loyal during the subsequent recovery.

1991

Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers formed

  • Responding to growing client demand for investment trusts, HL pioneered private investor involvement in new investment trust issues by streamlining the application process.
  • Hargreaves Lansdown unified stockbroking and PEP administration operations to put in a significant PEP bid in the privatisations.
  • The small print of the offer gave priority to PEP applicants and HL clients thereby benefited from superior allocation in the offer.

1994

Hargreaves Lansdown Fund Managers was formed

  • Providing a range of managed equity portfolios.
1996

HL went "full discount"

  • We took the decision to remove all initial commission on unit trusts and OEICs and relied on annual commission.
  • This move benefited clients by getting their investments off to a head start.
  • It aligned HL’s and our clients’ interests, as we would only do well if clients’ investments did well. This led to a more stable long-term income stream that ensured we could continue servicing clients through stock market ups and downs.

Information revolution

  • At this time the number of funds were growing, but clients still didn’t have a way to compare or navigate fund choices. We launched a biannual report to do just that.

Application form revolution

  • Up until this point fund application forms were many pages long and fund groups only accepted their own form.
  • We introduced the prototype of a consolidated application form that could be used for investing with any fund group.
1999

Hargreaves Lansdown Pensions Direct formed

  • Previously to invest in a pension you had to pay a financial adviser.
  • We revolutionised this by cutting out the middle man and offering people direct access to low cost pensions.
  • We aimed to deliver a transparent and good value pension service for private investors.

Launch of online share dealing service

  • The tariff started from £9.95 (the cheapest in the UK at the time).
  • This gave us an early understanding of how clients wanted to use the internet for dealing wherever possible.

Hargreaves Lansdown Corporate Solutions formed

  • This provided independent expert pensions advice to companies.

PEPs were replaced by ISAs

  • Over their 12 year history PEPs attracted 12.2 million account holders.
  • We were a leading PEP discount broker.
2000

First issue of the Investment Times

  • A publication devoted purely to investment.
  • This proved a great success and over 140 issues have now been produced.

Soaring ISA volumes challenged the investment industry

  • Driven by client demand for technology investments.
  • We warned clients "not to get too carried away with one red hot theme" and not to commit too much of their portfolio to this area.
2001

Launch of our first Multi-Manager fund

  • We started the Multi-Manager fund range in response to clients’ desire to hand over the investment decisions to professional managers.
  • The first multi-manager fund is still running and now called the HL Multi-Manager Balanced Managed Trust.

Major systems development

  • Enabled us to share commission we earned from fund groups with our clients – both the renewal and initial commissions.
  • HL quickly took a major share of the burgeoning fund supermarket business.

Launch of stakeholder pensions

  • These simplified, low cost pensions were available to a wider audience. Introduced to encourage individuals to save for retirement - employers had to offer access to one.
  • The application form was still 32 pages long but our pensions experts reduced it to a simple 6 pages.
  • HL quickly became the leading stakeholder pension broker.

Growth of HL Multi-Manager fund range

2002

Online investing grows

  • As acceptance of the internet grew, we saw 10% of applications placed online for the William Hill Share Offer.
  • With investors reticent to invest new money during these years, they consolidated their investments on our platform in return for a share of fund groups' renewal commission and greater control over their assets.
  • The number of accounts available increased to include the Fund and Share account.

Launch of our annuity service

  • For the first time, people could easily compare and shop around for the best annuity rates online
  • We continue to be a leading annuities broker
2003

Launch of the HL SIPP

  • For the first time, clients could bring their pensions under one roof and benefit from low costs and initial discounts which ISA and PEP investors had enjoyed for years.
  • HL was the first direct-to-investor fund supermarket to offer SIPPs.

First appearance of the "Wealth 150" (now known as the Wealth Shortlist)

  • A list of funds, from a variety of sectors, chosen for their long-term potential.
  • Overall, our selections have performed well against their relevant benchmarks. We have not been afraid to let investors know when this hasn’t been the case, so they can consider alternatives.
2004

Launch of HL Markets

  • Providing sophisticated investors with access to Contracts for Difference and Foreign Exchange trading.
2006

Relaunch of HL website

  • The change included improved dealing and research facilities.

Hargreaves Lansdown introduced non-executive directors

Launch of the HL Multi-Manager Cautious Managed Trust

2007

Hargreaves Lansdown floated on the stock market in May 2007

  • 25% of shares in the company were made available to institutions, employees and existing clients.
  • No new money was raised as part of the offer. 75% of the company continued to be owned by Peter Hargreaves, Stephen Lansdown, other directors and staff.

HL SIPP has assets of over £1 billion for the first time

  • By the year end, that amount reached £1.7 billion.

HL Multi Manager Team now manages over £1 billion in assets across four funds

2009

Bank of England cuts the base rate to a record low of 0.5%

  • Here it remains for over 7 years.
  • Non-executive director Mike Evans replaced Stephen Lansdown as Chairman of the board.
  • Stephen continues as an executive director.
2010

Launch of Corporate Vantage (now HL Workplace)

  • Linking our existing advice service to employers with our platform for individual investors - delivering better outcomes for employers and employees alike.

Ian Gorham replaces Peter Hargreaves as Chief Executive

  • Peter remains on the board as an executive director

2011

Hargreaves Lansdown is promoted to the FTSE 100 index and has remained there since

Launch of the first HL smartphone app

  • With the aim of helping people to monitor and manage their investments on the move.

The government introduces Junior ISAs to replace Child Trust Funds (CTFs)

  • HL is ready to accept applications from day one.
  • We also successfully campaigned for the rules to be changed so that CTFs could be transferred into a Junior ISA.

Changes to pension rules

  • More options for those reaching 75, coupled with changes to death benefits and tax charges, increased the attractiveness of pensions for many.
  • Flexible Drawdown was introduced for individuals with enough secure pension income, giving them more choice in retirement.
2012

Stephen Lansdown steps down as a board member and employee

  • But, is still a major shareholder to this day.

2014

Regulation (‘RDR2’) meant a change to how we charged clients for our services

  • This required extensive system changes that resulted in lower charges for the majority of our clients.
  • We continue to drive down the cost of investing - this is done by negotiating low investment charges with major fund managers.

Annual ISA allowance jumps to £15,000

  • At the same time complete flexibility was allowed on how much can go to a Cash ISA and how much to a Stocks and Shares ISA.
  • Investors could at last choose to invest their cash in the stock market in the knowledge they could revert to a Cash ISA in future if required.
2015

Three more HL Multi-manager funds launched

Peter Hargreaves steps down from the board of directors

  • But continues to work for Hargreaves Lansdown.

Sweeping changes to pension rules

  • Principally allowing more flexibility at retirement, making pensions more popular than ever.
  • HL were at the forefront of facilitating this for clients.

HL’s assets under management reached £50 billion, among over 700,000 clients

Launch of 'Portfolio+'

  • A new service to help clients choose from a range of investment goals, whether it be capital growth or income, the underlying portfolios are then balanced automatically.

Peter Hargreaves retires from Hargreaves Lansdown

  • Though he still remains a major shareholder.

2016

Britain voted to leave the European Union

On 23 June 2016, Hargreaves Lansdown’s Chief Executive, Ian Gorham, said:

“We are pleased the referendum is now over, as extended uncertainty would undoubtedly have impacted on investors, markets and businesses.

Hargreaves Lansdown did not take a position and remained neutral in this debate. Whilst we will always speak up in the interests of savers and investors, we regarded the referendum as a political matter and therefore one for the British people to decide.

We consider keeping investors well informed an important part of the Hargreaves Lansdown service. We will continue to inform them of issues relevant to UK retail investors. This will help them make their investment decisions."

Interest rate cut to 0.25%

  • In August, the Bank of England cut interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25%. This was the first cut since 2009, a new record low.

Launch of our HL Foundation

  • With an aim of helping the next generation, supporting local communities, improving people’s health and wellbeing, and changing people’s lives for the better.

Launch of the first HL Select Fund

  • The HL Select Fund range offers a different type of investor experience. Each of the three funds have a concentrated portfolio of high quality companies, so each holding can make a difference. The managers keep clients updated along the way, explaining why they hold each share and what’s going on.
2017

Chris Hill replaces Ian Gorham as Chief Executive

Philip Johnson appointed as Chief Financial Officer

Launch of the HL Lifetime ISA

  • We were the first investment platform to provide a Lifetime ISA.

Launch of HL Tech

  • We opened a technology centre in Poland to expand our software development capabilities. A larger IT development capability increases our ability to improve the services we offer to clients and grow as a business.

HL reached 1 million clients

Bank of England raises the base rate to 0.5%

2018

Deanna Oppenheimer appointed as Non-Executive Chair

Launch of Active Savings

  • Clients can now manage their cash savings and investments under one roof. Active Savings allows clients to pick savings products from a range of UK banks and building societies.

Bank of England raises the base rate to 0.75%

2019

Launch of HL Select Global Growth Shares fund

  • The fund invests in the same type of high quality companies as our HL Select UK Growth Shares fund, but on a global scale.