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Hargreaves Lansdown Chair to Step Down Amid Rising Criticism
Global Markets

Hargreaves Lansdown Chair to Step Down Amid Rising Criticism

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UK-based financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown today announced the appointment of Alison Platt as the new chair, succeeding Deanna Oppenheimer.

Hargreaves Lansdown PLC (GB:HL) announced the departure of its chair, Deanna Oppenheimer, after facing rising criticism regarding her re-election for the second consecutive year. The company appointed Alison Platt as the new chair, who is currently serving as chair of Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC (GB:DPH) and will join the board in early 2024.

Oppenheimer will step down from the company on December 8 after serving for six years. The leadership transition comes amid backlash from co-founder Peter Hargreaves, who characterized her term as a “disaster.” Hargreaves pointed to a 60% decline in the company’s share price during her tenure as chair. Last week, the group lost its esteemed position in the FTSE 100 index of leading UK stocks.

Hargreaves Lansdown is a financial services company based in the UK, known for its market-leading investment platform. The company oversees approximately £134 billion in investments on behalf of its clients.

Challenging Times

The company is currently facing challenging times, marked by a conflict with Peter Hargreaves over strategic decisions. He criticized the company’s decision to enter the hybrid advice market, providing wealth manager-type services to its DIY clients. He described the move as “unnecessary and irrelevant” and wants the company to undertake job cuts to boost the share price.

Platt expressed her delight in joining Hargreaves, emphasizing her enthusiasm for contributing to the company’s crucial efforts in assisting clients in making savings and investment decisions. Platt also serves on the board of Tesco PLC (GB:TSCO) and Ageas UK. Platt’s experience ranges across different sectors such as insurance, healthcare, and retail, which will benefit the company’s efforts in making a turnaround.

In FY23, the company disclosed a substantial 26% increase in its revenues, amounting to £735 million, in comparison to the fiscal year 2022. The company’s savings platform experienced an unprecedented influx of new business, reaching a total of £3.2 billion in the fiscal year 2023. Notably, the standout feature of the results was the pre-tax profits, which amounted to £402.7 million—a remarkable 50% surge compared to the preceding year and surpassing analysts’ predictions.

Is Hargreaves Lansdown a Good Buy?

The stock traded up by 0.75% yesterday after the news. Year-to-date, the share price has lost around 13% of its value in trading.

HL stock has been rated as a Moderate Sell by analysts on TipRanks based on four Sell, two Buy, and one Hold recommendations. The Hargreaves Lansdown share price forecast is 788.3p, which is 11.8% higher than the current price level.

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