Insight into Hargreaves Lansdown’s top talent acquisition as IG Group exec Christopher Hill becomes CFO

Whilst electronic trading, fintech and global FX markets are most certainly London-centric, Bristol, a city 100 miles west of the capital, has for hundreds of years been a mainstay of Britain’s financial services industry, largely centered around insurance, life assurance, pensions and investments, with a large number of independent financial advisers selling funds and investments to […]

Whilst electronic trading, fintech and global FX markets are most certainly London-centric, Bristol, a city 100 miles west of the capital, has for hundreds of years been a mainstay of Britain’s financial services industry, largely centered around insurance, life assurance, pensions and investments, with a large number of independent financial advisers selling funds and investments to retail customers across the country.

Despite there being very little similarity between London’s electronic trading industry and Bristol’s traditional financial and life assurance businesses, one particular company, Hargreaves Lansdown, has risen from its origins as an independent financial adviser in the mid 1980s to a firm which is attracting talent from London’s finest.

Today, it was announced that Christopher Hill, CFO of London-based publicly-listed CFD and spreadbetting firm IG Group Holdings plc (LON:IGG) has announced his resignation to join Hargreaves Lansdown as CFO.

Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion

Established in 1981 by Yorkshireman Peter Hargreaves CBE, a former computer salesman, and Bristolian Stephen Lansdown, an accountant, Hargreaves Lansdown grew from a FIMBRA-registered independent financial adviser in the 1980s and early 1990s, placing retail business with Bristol-based life assurance firms such as Commercial Union and General Accident, to a company which developed its own proprietary investment platform.

The platform, which operates under the name Vantage, enables investors to hold different types of investments in one place with one valuation and one dealing service. Most of the asset classes handled are ISA, SIPP along with a fund and share dealing account.

In true West Country fashion, the company also operates unit trusts, a type of investment which was pioneered by Mark Weinberg of Allied Dunbar over 30 years ago.

As a teenager who (mis) spent his youth programming and configuring PBX switches for electronic trading desks in banks as an apprentice some 24 years ago for two years in Bristol’s city center, I remember Hargreaves Lansdown’s original offices located in merchant-style premises just off Whiteladies Road in Clifton, Bristol, and can categorically emphasize that since those beginnings, the company has grown its operations and services tremendously.

To give an idea of its substantial growth, in April 2009, Mr. Lansdown relinquished a 4.7% stake in Hargreaves Lansdown for a sum of £47.2 million, the proceeds of which were provided to Bristol City Football Club for the construction of a new stadium.

Christopher Hill brings 20 years worth of senior level experience to Hargreaves Lansdown

Mr. Hill clears his desk at IG Group for the last time on October 30, and will remain employed by IG Group until early February 2016, at which point he will have completed his notice period, or until the time at which he takes up his new position.

Mr. Hill will receive his salary equivalent to his full notice period, and IG Group is already engaged in the search for a replacement for Mr Hill.

Having joined IG Group as CFO in April 2011, Mr. Hill has an extensive career in accountancy within financial services companies. His previous position was as CFO at deliverable FX firm Travelex, where he spent two years and eight months, a role which was preceded by a year and a half as Finance Director for the UK and Ireland at VWR International.

Going back to the beginning of the millenium, Mr. Hill spent five years at GE Capital in various executive positions, after six years at consultancy firm Arthur Andersen, a company that he joined in 1993.

Mr. Hill has an MA in Modern History from Oxford University’s Keble College, and was privately educated at one of the UK’s most respected educational institutions, Cheltenham College.

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