HM Treasury  

Hargreaves says Lloyds share sale is 'disgraceful'

Hargreaves says Lloyds share sale is 'disgraceful'

Ian Gorham, chief executive of Hargreaves Lansdown, has written to prime minister Theresa May about the upcoming sale of Lloyds Bank shares, telling her the share sale plan is "disgraceful and patronising".

Earlier this month, HM Treasury stated it would restart the process of selling its stake in Lloyds "in the coming days".

At that time, chancellor Philip Hammond said the government would sell its 9.1 per cent stake through a trading plan, with the proposed retail sale scrapped.

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Mr Gorham's letter to Ms May expressed concerns that the withdrawal of any retail element to the share sale, in favour of an institutional placing, has put the interests of financial institutions ahead of ordinary investors.

According to Hargreaves Lansdown, 374,000 ordinary investors contacted the firm because they were interested in buying a stake in the bank from the government.

Mr Gorham said new share offers are a tried and tested way to encourage long term saving, and the Royal Mail offer in 2013 attracted 690,000 retail investors.

Additionally, his letter said the government cited while market volatility as a reason for an institutional placing retail investors are aware of and happily accept the fact markets go up and down.

Mr Gorham said: “We urge the government that a rethink would be a victory for common sense. Money from taxpaying working people bailed out Lloyds PLC. Not giving them the opportunity to participate in its sale is disgraceful and patronising.”

Yesterday (12 October) it was announced that more than 1,300 jobs will be cut from Lloyds Banking Group as part of the company’s strategic review.

Lloyds stated the changes would include the creation of 110 new roles across a range of business areas, meaning the net job losses would be 1,230.

The job losses are in the group operations, retail, customer products & marketing, finance and risk divisions.

ruth.gillbe@ft.com