Hargreaves Lansdown is to ditch its Wealth 50 list in a bid to move away from the accusations of conflict of interest which have circled the best buylist since its launch, according to reports.
The consumer platform is set to scrap the original setup — where 50 “favourite funds” which had passed “analysts’ tests” were highlighted as best buys — and replace it with a Wealth Shortlist, according to the Sunday Times.
The Wealth Shortlist will be overseen by an independent panel and two new independent directors while the choices will be presented alongside research notes which show the selection process and the funds’ performance.
Hargreaves did not want to comment.
The firm's Wealth 50 list has been under review since January, when the platform giant announced it would be making changes to improve the transparency of the process by adding more detail and a new structure to its research notes.
It also suggested there would be a new functionality on its platform to help those who want to follow a “more independent path”.
Best buylists have come under scrutiny over the past few years despite the Financial Conduct Authority’s 2017 review finding they were a positive tool for investors.
The City-watchdog was urged to look into the role of such lists in the aftermath of the Woodford Equity Income saga. The criticism surrounding Mr Woodford and buylists was particularly focused on Hargreaves’ Wealth 50 list, which featured the now-defunct Equity Income fund on its list until the day it was suspended on June 3.
It remained on the platform’s list despite an extended period of poor performance and Hargreaves has since confirmed it had concerns about the fund for 18 months before its eventual suspension.
Ex-FCA boss Andrew Bailey has also raised questions as to whether the effect of being on Hargreaves’ best buylist had caused an influx into Mr Woodford’s fund that “exceeded the investment strategy”.
What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on email@example.com to let us know.