Hargreaves Lansdown Group  

The rise of the young investor has come with big risks

At Hargreaves, the platform says younger people are showing more interest in investing for the future with equity trading volumes up by 123 per cent over the past six months. 

Meanwhile, there has been a surge in the use of its app, with a 57 per cent growth in the number of logs-ins in the last six months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

In 2012, 46 per cent of Hargreaves' clients were aged between 55 and 80. That proportion is now 34 per cent. 

And since 2012, it has seen the average age of new clients decrease from 45 to 37. This was reflected in the first half of 2020 where 47 per cent of clients joining were in the 30-54 age bracket.

Chris Hill, chief executive of Hargreaves Lansdown, has said clients value a simple and intuitive experience that is supported by a range of channels, including mobile apps, website access and over the telephone.

“With our comprehensive proposition and easy-to-use digital offering, combined with the extensive expert insight and research we provide to support clients in their investment journey, we can provide this experience.” 

Risky business

But with such growth comes risk, as highlighted by the Financial Conduct Authority recently, which raised concerns that there is a new, younger, more diverse group of consumers getting involved in higher risk investments, potentially prompted in part by the accessibility offered by new investment apps. 

As a result of the pandemic there has been a sharp rise in do-it-yourself investing and day trading. 

The FCA said there was evidence that the higher risk products may not always be suitable for these consumer needs as nearly two-thirds (59 per cent) claim that a significant investment loss would have a fundamental impact on their current or future lifestyle.

The research found that for many investors, emotions and feelings such as enjoying the thrill of investing, and social factors like the status that comes from a sense of ownership in the companies they invest in, were key reasons behind their decisions to invest. 

The regulator added: “This is particularly true for those investing in high-risk products for whom the challenge, competition and novelty are more important than conventional, more functional reasons for investing like wanting to make their money work harder or save for their retirement.”

A spokesperson for Hargreaves says in many ways trading apps have democratised the whole investment process, but adds they need to be used thoughtfully: "If you are trading on the go, you need to ensure you give each trade as much consideration as you would if you were sitting in a quiet place at home, to try and ensure you are not swept up in any hype.