Tech veteran Dan Olley appointed new boss of Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves settles for new boss to clean up Woodford’s mess: Tech veteran Dan Olley takes over at investment platform

Hargreaves Lansdown has appointed a new boss as it gears up to deal with the fallout from the Neil Woodford saga.

The investment platform announced that Dan Olley, a technology industry veteran, will succeed Chris Hill, who announced his resignation in October.

It comes as Hargreaves tries to strengthen its business, focusing on improving IT systems and online sites.

Tough test: Industry veteran Dan Olley, left, must deal with the fallout from the Neil Woodford scandal

But Olley will take the reins at a difficult time as the company faces lawsuits and the result of a regulatory investigation into its conduct that led to the demise of Woodford’s investment empire.

Olley, 52, joined the board in 2019 as a non-executive director.

He said: ‘This is a company with an exceptional track record, a strong strategic position and a formidable brand. I am extremely excited about the opportunity to lead the company through its digital transformation into the next phase of growth.”

Earlier this year, Hargreaves revealed it was investing nearly £200m in boosting its technology, which dealt a blow to the stock.

Bosses claimed this would take it to the ‘next stage’ of growth, but Ben Yearsley, director of Shore Financial Planning, said: ‘Hill’s downfall was having to announce £200 million worth of technology, which made it look like they were underspending. for years.’

Yearsley said he hadn’t heard much about Olley, the former CEO of market research firm Dunnhumby and former executive at data analytics firm Relx, but said his appointment was an “interesting move.”

Hill resigned just weeks after litigation organization RGL Management filed a claim against Hargreaves in the Supreme Court on behalf of 3,200 investors involved in the Woodford implosion. Hargreaves has denied any allegations.

The investment platform was one of the first companies to come under scrutiny when the Woodford Equity Income fund was suspended in 2019.

Hargreaves recommended the troubled fund to clients through its so-called “best buy” list until it was suspended in June 2019.

About 133,000 Hargreaves clients were invested directly in the fund, many of whom blamed the fund for promoting Woodford after suffering heavy losses.

Just weeks before the fund closed, Hargreaves’ now-retired research chief Mark Dampier told clients: “We think [Woodford’s] still have the ability to deliver outstanding long-term performance.”

But thousands of others were also indirectly exposed because they invested in Hargreaves’ “multi-manager funds” — pots of money it managed and dispersed the money across a variety of funds.

In total, about 300,000 Hargreaves clients are thought to be potentially exposed to Woodford’s investment empire.

Experts criticized Hargreaves, founded in 1981 by entrepreneurs Peter Hargreaves and Stephen Lansdown, for recommending the fund as long as they did.

For several months leading up to the collapse, performance had been poor – and there were signs that Woodford had begun to shift its strategy to invest in riskier, earlier-stage companies.

When the fund closed, Hill had to apologize to Hargreaves’ clients. Her behavior will come under scrutiny in the lawsuit filed by RGL, which also targets Link Fund Solutions, the company believed to be overseeing Woodford’s management of the fund. Hill was boss for nearly six years. Yearsley described his tenure as a “total disaster.”

While investment platforms benefited during the pandemic, as households sought to invest extra savings they had accumulated, they were weighed down by the cost of living and fears that the weakening global economy will hurt companies’ growth prospects.

Yesterday, Hargreaves shares increased by 1.8 percent or 15.4 p to 850.4 p.

Olley will take over from Hill in November next year.

Finsbury’s poor showing was blamed on Train betting

Fund manager Nick Train has seen bad bets on the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown, Manchester United and Experian weigh on the performance of one of his largest funds.

Train said it was “disappointing” that its Finsbury Growth & Income Trust had underperformed for a second year.

The trust, which is listed on the stock exchange and manages the savings of large parts of the British, suffered an investor loss of 5.6 percent in the year to September.

This compared to a loss of 4 percent in the FTSE All-Share Index, the benchmark.

Over a five-year period, returns look slightly better, having returned 21.5 percent of investors’ initial investment, compared to 11.3 percent in the benchmark.

But investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown, asset manager Schroders, Manchester United and tonic maker Fevertree all dragged it down this year.

In a report to investors, Train said: “Your holdings in Hargreaves Lansdown and Schroders have had a miserable year, along with others in this industry, even though their businesses have grown, as measured by increases in client numbers or assets under management. .

“I can only hope that investor sentiment towards the UK asset management industry and for the UK stock market as a whole will improve.”

He said American “tech darlings” such as Facebook owner Meta, Netflix and Amazon, whom he has avoided, have begun to see their typically high valuations fall back. He added that the war in Ukraine, and the economic instability it has caused, also made investing difficult.

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