Hargreaves Lansdown luring funds from rivals

LONDON Thu Sep 1, 2011 9:37am BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown Plc attracted a surge of new business during July and August which its founder attributed to a ready supply of disgruntled clients who lost money with rivals during the summer market volatility.

The company said on Thursday that while markets had proved weak since its fiscal year-end in June, net new business inflows in July and August were up more than 30 percent on a year earlier.

"Volatility is quite good for business ... I think a lot of people become very disillusioned with where they are investing," Peter Hargreaves, co founder and the firm's largest shareholder, said in an interview.

The company said its assets under administration expanded 41 percent to 24.6 billion pounds in the year through June, outpacing a forecast of 37 percent growth by analysts at brokerage Collins Stewart

Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV.L) shares, which had slumped to an 11-month low of 392 pence in late August, jumped 13 percent to 487-1/2 pence by 0819 GMT, also helped by a special dividend.

The stock was pummelled last month after Britain's financial regulator had said it may clamp down on lucrative incentive payments paid to financial product distributors such as Hargreaves by fund management companies.

"We are confident that we will be able to adapt as a business to meet any regulatory requirements ... There is substantial water to go under the bridge in this debate," the company said.

Hargreaves Lansdown's full-year revenue rose 31 percent to 207.9 million pounds, in line with a Collins Stewart forecast.

The company said it is increasing its final dividend, paying an ordinary dividend of 8.41 pence and a special dividend of 5.96 pence. The total dividend for the year, at 18.87 pence per share, is up 59 percent on 2010, Hargreaves Lansdown said.

(Reporting by Chris Vellacott)