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Hargreaves Lansdown 'learning lessons' from Woodford fiasco

Oscar Williams-Grut
·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Embattled money manager Neil Woodford. Photo: Woodford Funds/YouTube
Embattled money manager Neil Woodford. Photo: Woodford Funds/YouTube

The chief technology officer of Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.L) has said the investment platform is working on changes after the high-profile collapse of stock picker Neil Woodford’s investment company, which raised questions about Hargreaves Lansdown’s support of the business.

Neil Woodford, once viewed as a star fund manager, was forced to shut down his investment company last month and has gated two funds, following issues around liquidity. The spectacular downfall has led to investigations by the regulator and a probe from MPs.

The Woodford fiasco has also tainted Hargreaves Lansdown. FTSE 100-listed Hargreaves Lansdown has come under fire for its role in continuing to promote Woodford’s funds even when it had suspicions that trouble could be brewing.

READ MORE: Hargreaves Lansdown CEO: 'Right thing' for Woodford to axe fees on frozen fund

Woodford’s flagship Equity Income Fund was on Hargreaves Lansdown’s ‘Wealth 50’ list until the fund was frozen in June. The ‘Wealth 50’ list features Hargreaves’ preferred funds that are recommended to customers and more than 290,000 Hargreaves customers were trapped in the Equity Income Fund after Woodford gated withdrawals.

Chris Worle, Hargreaves Lansdown’s CTO, said on Tuesday: “Learning lessons and turning it into a positive improvement for clients is something that we’re determined to do.

“There’s a huge amounts of work going on now really to look at all aspects and where we can learn the lessons, both behind the scenes in terms of client engagement, in terms of the information that we provide.

“We’re starting to get a really good view of what we want to change and how. I think to a certain extent we need to let things also play through a little bit because we don’t want to be too reactionary in the changes.”

The comments came on the second day of the Fintech Talents conference in London, where Worle appeared on stage. He didn’t elaborate further on what the changes might look like.

Worle said Hargreaves Lansdown was also looking at how better to engage people in savings and investment more generally.

“We’ve got a massive problem in the UK brewing up so people do need to take much more ownership and responsibility of their savings and investments,” Worle said.

“What we’re looking to do now, more and more going forward, how do we use that engagement to ensure that people do get the right outcomes.”

Yahoo Finance UK is proud to be a media partner for FinTECH Talents — the ultimate global fintech festival in London 11-13 November 2019. There are 3,000 festival-goers + 1,500 innovators representing over 400 different financial services institutions + Rockstar speakers & steering committee members + Over 50 hours of content sessions + Game changing tech companies + The talent of tomorrow + Craft beer and live music sessions.