Hargreaves Lansdown Founder Peter Hargreaves speaks out on pro-Brexit stance

Among Britain’s highly successful long-term senior executives and founders of some of the most prominent electronic trading companies in the country, the possibility that Britain may leave the European Union after a referendum in June is a potential circumstance that would be relished. Joining CMC Markets Plc (LON:CMCX) CEO and founder Peter Cruddas in the […]

Hargreaves Lansdowne founder speaks out on Brexit

Among Britain’s highly successful long-term senior executives and founders of some of the most prominent electronic trading companies in the country, the possibility that Britain may leave the European Union after a referendum in June is a potential circumstance that would be relished.

Joining CMC Markets Plc (LON:CMCX) CEO and founder Peter Cruddas in the pro-Brexit school of thought is Peter Hargreaves, who founded Bristol-based £6.9 billion Bristol-based Hargreaves Lansdown PLC (LON:HL) alongside Stephen Lansdown in 1981.

On Friday, Mr. Hargreaves spoke out about his perspective on how a post-Brexit Britain would look, likening it to Singapore in the 1960s.

He explained to the BBC on Friday “I am firmly convinced that the day hopefully, we decide to leave, that little bit of insecurity, that little bit of unknown will be an absolute fillip to everyone.”

Mr. Hargreaves continued

“When Singapore became independent from Malaysia, that little insecurity that they were no longer part of Malaysia, it was an inspiration. I honestly think that would be good for us too.”

Hargreaves Lansdown is Britain’s largest retail financial services company, having grown from a small brokerage firm in Clifton, Bristol in the 1980s, to today’s electronic brokerage.

In a recent meeting with FinanceFeeds, Hargeaves Lansdown demonstrated its self-developed Vantage service, which is an in-house developed proprietary platform that offers customers a wide selection of option choices such as spread betting and CFDs, ISA’s, SIPPs as well as corporate and government bonds, ETF’s, Investment Trusts. The company considers its strong customer service and safety of client funds to be top priorities.

Trading in the instruments that the company provides is manageable via the Vantage system which holds different types of investments together in one place with one valuation and dealing service, and whilst CFDs and spread betting are very much part of the firm’s product range and are offered under the HL Markets brand, Hargreaves Lansdown has 14% of the UK’s market share in ISAs.

The company’s CEO is one of Bristol’s most successful commercial leaders. 43-year old Ian Gorham, whose salary is £500,000, superseded Mr. Hargreaves in 2010 and has maintained the company’s incredible financial strength, attracting talent from London at senior level, exemplified by IG Group CFO Christopher Hill having joined the company as CFO in the last quarter of 2015.

Mr. Hargreaves told the BBC on Friday that concerns about leaving the European Union and the potential impact that such a decision would have on the financial sector, particularly the City of London, were being blown out of proportion.

“We raise money for the Russians; we raise money all over the world, for countries that are not in Europe,” he said. “They’ve got to use London. London can raise billions on a few phone calls” – Peter Hargreaves

Mr. Hargreaves believes that there would be absolutely no material effect on trade between Europe and Britain should an exit from the European Union take place.

Just as Britain would no longer be required to pay tens of millions of pounds every day to the various white elephant projects and failed economies in the European Union, the country would retain its sovereignty as an independent nation and further secure London’s place as the prestigious world financial center. He clearly understands that even if Britain is not inexorably tied to the European nations politically, the demand for European companies to sell tehir products in the world’s 10th largest economy by GDP would still be very strong.

“Can you imagine if they put up a trade barrier, and we would reciprocate immediately” said Mr. Hargreaves. “Just imagine the three phone calls Angela Merkel would get the following day, the chief executive of [Volkswagen], the chief executive of Mercedes and the chief executive of BMW” – Peter Hargreaves

Mr Hargreaves, voiced his pro-Brexit opinion last year, has stated that being autonomous could also help the country to strike better trade deals. He said Britain could look to the Commonwealth for more trade, as it would be free of previous deals that favoured other EU members.

Mr. Hargreaves also considers the reduction in bureaucracy to be a potential boon. “Britain would also escape many of Brussels’ rules and regulations” he claimed.

As the Brexit debate gains further ground and the referendum approaches, this is another clear statement from a leading executive who has built up one of the most substantial and well-respected companies in the electronic financial services industry, rather similar to that of Peter Cruddas who has donated £1 million to a Brexit campaign, and also co-founded The City For Britain, a pro-Brexit group representing the interests of London’s financial sector workers.

Photograph: Clifton, Bristol. The original home of Hargreaves Lansdown

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