Hargreaves Lansdown U-turns on investment trust fees

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Hargreaves Lansdown – Britain’s biggest investor which dominates the retail investment industry with nearly GBP 40 billion in assets – has scrapped plans to place additional charges for holding investment trusts.

Announced in January, the changes included the 0.45% chagre capped at GBP 45 in ordinary fund and share accounts and ISAs, and GBP 200 in Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs).

Before the proposed changes, these stock-market quoted collective trusts were treated the same as company shares.

But then the investment giant stated that from March, the two types of investment would be separately charged – meaning investors who hold both company shares and shares in investment trusts would be charged double – GBP 90.

The maximum charge for SIPPs was even higher at GBP 200 each year for each type of holding – meaning investors could pay as much as GBP 400.

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Twist

Yet in a recent twist the firm, which was established by billionaires Peter Hagreaves and Stephen Lansdown, announced the charges would be scrapped.

“It is clear that this particular aspect of our pricing change has been disliked,” admitted chief executive Ian Gorham.

“I believe it is therefore the right thing to do to revert to a charging structure that clients are happy with,” he continued.

“Clients who hold investment trusts through Hargreaves Lansdown will therefore be better off than previously proposed.”

The new pricing, which was released alongside its half yearly results, shows a continuation of the previous charging structure; a single capped charge for shares and investment trusts of 0.45% for Isa savers.

Director-general of the Association of Investment Companies Ian Sayers said the decision was “great news,” and that “whilst investment trusts are held in much the same way as funds, they are shares which are traded just like any other.”

In separate news, Hargreaves Lansdown announced its assets under management rose 43% in 2013 – an increase to GBP 43 billion.

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