Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV) attempted to put the threat of Vanguard’s retail launch behind it today with a strong trading statement showing the investment broker enjoyed a strong start to the year.

The Bristol-based firm saw assets under administration jump £7 billion to £77 billion in the first four months of the year. Just over half of this increase (£3.7 billion) was due to rising stock market lifting the value of investors’ accounts with the platform attracting £3.3 billion of new money on top.

The level of inflows was £1 billion higher than a year ago, helped by the launch of New Woodford’s new fund, the government’s lifetime ISA and a raise in the amount that investors can shelter in individual savings accounts,

The company is also helping itself with clever marketing of itself as a one-stop shop for people’s pensions and investments.

‘The group’s flows have also benefited from its increased digital marketing presence, including the launch of our new smart phone apps, and transfer activity as our clients continue to consolidate their wealth onto our platform,’ the company added. 

The funds supermarket attracted 56,000 new customers to take the total to 932,000 in April. 

Net revenue for the financial year to date was £315.7 million, 17% higher than at the same point last year.

Chief executive Chris Hill said the company meant was well positioned to take advantage of ‘the structural growth opportunity in the UK savings and investments market’.

The company also announced that chairman Mike Evans would step down later in the year when a successor had been found. Evans joined Hargreaves as a non-executive director in 2006 before becoming non-executive chairman in 2009.

He said: ‘Chairing Hargreaves Lansdown over the past eight years has been a real privilege. I have seen the group grow significantly and establish itself as the UK’s leading retail savings and investments platform.’

One of his last roles was the recruitment of Hill, the former chief financial officer of IG Group who replaced Ian Gorham as chief executive last year.

In a falling market Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV) shares slipped 23p or 1.7% to £13.24. They have fallen nearly 9% this week, largely in response to US tracking fund giant Vanguard launching a low-cost investment website at DIY investors on Monday. 

Jefferies equity analyst Phil Dobbin maintained a ‘hold’ rating on the shares, saying Hargreaves had beaten its forecasts

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