Some 84,000 customers joined Hargreaves Lansdown in the latter half of 2020 as the platform continued to cash in on the coronavirus crisis-induced trading boom.
Hargreaves’s half year results, published today (February 1), showed its active client total now stands at 1.5m — up a record 84,000 since June — as more people, and a younger cohort, showed an increased appetite for investment.
Net new business, at £3.24bn, was up 40 per cent year-on-year.
Chief executive Chris Hill said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has […] reinforced the importance of saving and investing and the need for individuals to be financially resilient.
“Over the course of the pandemic, many have found the time and seen the need to prioritise household savings which has enabled and led them to invest for the first time.
“In turn, this change in behaviour is leading to a dynamic shift in the broader investment and wealth market. Younger people are taking a greater interest in investing for the future, recording an increased appetite for investment, and prioritising financial resilience and saving.”
The results show that in 2012, 46 per cent of Hargreaves’s clients were aged between 55 and 80, but that proportion has now fallen to 34 per cent. The average age of new clients has decreased from 45 to 37.
This has led to higher levels of digital engagement for the platform, the results showed. Over the six months to December, the platform’s mobile app saw a 57 per cent growth in clients logging in compared to the prior year.
On average, customers checked their investments 10 times per week.
Hargreaves conducted 6.5m equity trades, up 123 per cent year-on-year, and the platform’s revenue on shares increased by 148 per cent to £113m.
Mr Hill added: “We remain excited by the structural growth opportunity in the UK savings and investments market and confident in our ability to deliver sustainable growth through the cycle.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has underpinned the importance of financial resilience and we are well placed to support clients with their saving and investment needs across their lifetimes.”
The results come as platforms and markets grapple with a rise in DIY investors, often with a propensity to trade stocks on a daily basis.
Last month, AJ Bell reported that its DIY customer numbers had jumped 31 per cent over 2020, while the rise of day-trading prompted the City watchdog on Friday to warn about buying shares in “volatile markets”.
The trend has contributed to strong growth for Hargreaves Lansdown, which reported total assets under administration of £120.6bn as at December 31, 2020, up 15 per cent year-on-year.
Its £300m revenue for the six months to December was up 16 per cent compared to 2019 while its profit before tax increased 10 per cent to £188.4m.
The board recommended an interim dividend of 11.9p per share, up 6 per cent on last year’s offering.
Mr Hill said: “Whilst events at the end of 2020 provided further stability to the external environment, with the conclusion of the Brexit deal and the completion of the US election, the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic consequences will continue to impact markets and businesses over the remainder of this financial year and beyond.