LONDON British funds supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown said on Wednesday its Chief Executive Ian Gorham has decided to step down by September 2017, as it posted full-year results in line with forecasts, sending its share price lower.
The company said Gorham, 44, who has presided over a near three-fold increase in the value of Hargreaves stock during the last six years in charge, will be replaced by Chris Hill, who currently serves as group chief financial officer.
In the interim Hill, aged 45, will become deputy chief executive from Oct. 1 and appointing a new CFO to replace Hill "will be a priority", the company said.
Appointed chief financial officer in February, Hill joined Hargreaves Lansdown from financial spread betting firm IG Group , where he was CFO for four years.
Gorham's decision to step down, which the company said was to allow "new zest" to be applied to its activities, comes as the group continues to benefit from a series of UK government changes to savings rules which have encouraged investors to place more money with the firm.
Those changes, including moves to boost the amount of money investors can save tax-free, have pushed total assets under administration up to a record 61.7 billion pounds in the 12 months to end-June, handing the firm a 37.5 percent share of the direct investing market, Hargreaves said.
Underpinning that was a jump in the number of active clients by 100,000 to 836,000 and an increase in net new business of 6 billion pounds, in line with the prior year's 6.1 billion.
Gorham said the firm should continue to capitalise from further planned changes to the investment rulebook, including the launch of the Lifetime ISA (Individual Savings Account).
The firm, which helps retail clients select funds and make other investments, said pretax profit was 218.9 million pounds ($293.70 million), beating a mean consensus forecast of 216.9 million pounds, Thomson Reuters data showed.
As a result, the firm said it would pay a second interim dividend of 16.3 pence, up from 14.3 pence in 2015, and a special dividend of 9.9 pence, down from 11.4 pence in the prior year, to take its total dividend to 34 pence, up 3 percent.
Bernstein analysts said the results were broadly inline, but said the growth in assets had still been a good result given weaker markets.
News of Gorham's plan to step down could lead to weakness in the share price, it added, and by 0707 GMT, Hargreaves stock was trading down 1.5 percent at 1,330 pence a share.
($1 = 0.7453 pounds)
(Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Sinead Cruise, Greg Mahlich)