Hargreaves founder vows to take on fund giants

Hargreaves founder vows to take on fund giants

Stephen Lansdown, co-founder of platform behemoth Hargreaves Lansdown, wants to make his latest venture one of “the largest investment management companies in the world" taking on active giants like Blackrock.

The firm, Ravenscroft, is a long-established stockbroker and wealth management business in the Channel Islands, and also manages a range of four funds.

It manages all of Mr Lansdown’s personal wealth, except his stake in Hargreaves Lansdown, which on Friday (29 September) he cut pocketing £190m from the sale of some of his shares.

Mr Lansdown became a shareholder in Ravenscroft in 2012, a director in 2015, and chairman in 2017.

He currently holds a 28 per cent stake in Ravenscroft.

The businessman said his experience launching and building up FTSE 100 financial services giant Hargreaves Lansdown, which dominates the investment platform market and turned a profit of £266m last year, has helped to shape his ambitious future plans for Ravenscroft.

He said: “It reminds me of when we were maybe three or four years in with Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Peter [Hargreaves, the other co-founder] and I were talking... deciding... did we want to continue as we were, a successful local firm, or try to become bigger.

"I thought we should focus on being the best, but learned that you need to be one of the biggest to be the best.

"I want Ravenscroft to be one of the biggest investment management companies in the world.”

Mr Lansdown said he got to know the firm when he moved to Guernsey and wanted a business to manage his money.

His greater involvement arose when he met with Mark Harries, an industry veteran who joined Ravenscroft as head of UK investment management in November 2016.

Mr Lansdown said: “Mark had worked at a lot of big firms. He spoke to me about maybe what his next venture might be, wanted to build something up. I think you could say he pitched me.”

Discussing his plans for the company, the 65-year-old emphasised that he is non-executive chairman.

He said: "I am there [in Guernsey] to help and to advise regularly.”

Two Ravenscroft funds have opened to investors in the UK, the Huntress Global Balanced fund, which is a multi-asset fund and the Huntress Global Blue Chip fund, a direct equity mandate.

Currently he has invested the maximum permitted amount, 10 per cent of the total fund size, in the Ravenscroft funds and so cannot put more cash in until the funds grow larger.

Mr Lansdown said he is aware of the challenges of launching a new fund business in the current regulatory environment, branding much regulation “superfluous”.

But he added companies can deal with it once they achieve a certain scale, and that Ravenscroft has the advantage of such scale already as the funds have more than £2bn of assets.

In asset management, he said “the big players get bigger, and lots of the small players stay small, but the middle tier that is left, it becomes an opportunity, and if you get to the middle tier you can grow to one of the big players.