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Hargreaves Lansdown - Treble Gold Standard Winners (again)

  • Retirement (3rd year running)
  • Personal Pensions (4th year running)
  • Group Pensions (3rd year running)

For the third year running, Hargreaves Lansdown has won three Gold Standard Awards.

To achieve these Gold Standard Awards, companies have to demonstrate high levels of excellence in: capability, service, fair value, trust and financial strength.

The judge’s comments:

"Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) leads the way in creating a culture that is 100% focused on creating the best possible customer outcomes. Relationships between clients and staff are exemplary. HL is utterly resolute in its focus on ensuring the customer experience is top-notch. Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) is fully embedded and, equally, HL recognises its importance in driving long term shareholder value. Transparency of processes, service and pricing is exceptional, leaving customers in no doubt as to what they are buying in to. Refreshing to see such an open culture that demonstrates a strong social responsibility theme. HL clearly understands the value of customer trust and operates in a way that places earning that trust high on its agenda. HL is an aspirational business that sets the standard in savings and investment."

Tom McPhail, Head of Retirement Policy, Hargreaves Lansdown:

"The past year has been one of great disruption, including auto-enrolment and the pension freedoms, so investors and the industry alike have faced significant challenges in managing retirement planning. These Gold Standard awards are a vindication of Hargreaves Lansdown’s culture of always putting the clients first and of helping them to make the most of their financial future, as well of the hard work of all our employees."

Deborah Benn, Chair of the Judging Panel:

"A backdrop of economic uncertainty following the Brexit decision has not been easy for entrants as they focus on the impact going forward. So those entrants who have made it through the process should be congratulated on passing what has been a very stringent year in terms of judging. A common thread of those that have achieved Gold Standard status is the clarity of their proposition and, importantly, how processes and services are developed and adapted to fit clients’ needs rather than shoehorning clients into inflexible structures. There was also a strong sense of social responsibility present in this year’s batch of entries, which impressed the judges."

About the Gold Standard Awards

The Gold Standard awards have been championing higher standards in financial services for 14 years. Designed to identify financial services companies that are going above and beyond standard business practices, the awards not only take account of a company's capability to conduct business, but assess standards of service, financial strength, fair value and trust, as well elements such as culture and social responsibility.

As the financial services sector in the UK continues to evolve, a Gold Standard award offers an increasingly important measure of whether a company is playing its part towards a more sustainable financial services sector.

To achieve a Gold Standard Award, companies have to complete a rigorous questionnaire designed to assess progress in four pillars - capability, service, fair value and trust. The fifth pillar, financial strength is assessed by AKG. Entries are assessed by an independent panel of judges. Only those companies demonstrating that they are going above and beyond standard procedures in order to meet the high levels of excellence set are considered for the award.

Criteria & Methodology used

The Gold Standard Awards are open to UK-based financial services groups or specialist financial companies offering their own products and services.

Products and services can be aimed at the UK retail market either directly, wholesale or via professional advisers. There is also an institutional award in the Fund Management category. Companies wishing to enter the Gold Standard Award scheme must complete a detailed questionnaire, which has been constructed using the knowledge of industry experts and takes a ‘five pillar’ approach to assessment.

The five pillars of measurement are:

Financial Strength: This has been defined in terms of the financial ability of the entrant organisation to meet what its customers reasonably expect through its ability to survive in an appropriate form. The differences between the provider types under consideration will be taken into account. Providers will be rated among their peer sector, rather than as a global population of entrants. Financial strength is assessed by AKG.

Capability: This area looks at the overall expertise of the company to conduct the business category entered. Typical elements taken into consideration include business structure, staff expertise and training.

Service:This assesses the ability of the company to maintain an effective pre and post-sales relationship with the distributor and/or consumer. Typical areas assessed are forms of communication, quality and levels of service on offer.

Fair Value: This assesses whether the customer is obtaining value for money by comparing charges and benefits against a typical range of products for the category entered, taking into account the level of service on offer. Companies offering specialist products only are assessed against similar groups.

Trust: The ability of a company to promote confidence through the customer experience, the media, advertising and marketing. Judges look for a coherent message, which is transmitted not only to customers but within the company itself. Element such as the culture of the company as a whole and social responsibility are also considered.