May 15, 2018 / 6:15 AM / 6 months ago

Savings rush helps Hargreaves Lansdown assets grow 3.1 percent

LONDON (Reuters) - British fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV.L) said total assets rose 3.1 percent in the first four months of 2018 as client demand to invest before the end of the tax year more than offset weaker markets.

Hargreaves, which offers a range of investment services to retail clients, said it took in 3.3 billion pounds of net new business in the January to April period, more than offsetting market losses of 600 million pounds.

That helped total assets under administration hit 88.8 billion pounds, up from 86.1 billion pounds at the end of December. Net revenue for the period was 150.6 million pounds, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Despite a period of market volatility at the start of the year, Hargreaves said it took on a net 60,000 new clients, with many keen to make the most of their yearly tax-free savings limit, which is reset at the end of April.

“Hargreaves Lansdown had another good tax year end, delivering strong net new business of 3.3 billion pounds over the busiest time of our year,” Chief Executive Chris Hill said.

“We have continued to invest in our helpdesk, operations and technology teams and I’m pleased that the consequence of this is that we are able to support stronger volumes of client activity.”

KBW analyst Jonathan Richards said the growth in assets was “significantly better” than his expectations for 2.2 billion pounds, while the market losses were less than the WMA Balanced Index, an index representing a wealth management portfolio.

The asset growth meant that revenues also beat expectations and should see analyst consensus forecasts move up as a result, he added, maintaining a ‘Market Perform’ rating.

At 0715 GMT, shares in Hargreaves were up 1.8 percent at 1,908 pence a share, among the best-performing stocks in the blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE.

Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Lawrence White/Keith Weir

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