The business on...Stephen Lansdown, Executive director, Hargreaves Lansdown

Click to follow
The Independent Online

So, why is he in the news?

Well, Mr Lansdown is relinquishing his role as an executive director of Hargreaves Lansdown after 29 years.

He co-founded the financial advisory business-turned-investment broker with Peter Hargreaves, who is also stepping down from his role as chief executive (they started trading from a bedroom flat). Presumably, Mr Lansdown will be able to use the opportunity to spend more time working on his second job as chairman of Bristol City Football Club.

Should we be surprised by this?

Perhaps not. You wouldn't be all that surprised to see someone who runs a business that helps people with their financial planning playing close attention to their own. In the case of Mr Lansdown (net worth estimated at over £500m), that meant relocating to Guernsey to avoid the 50 per cent top rate of income tax for the super-rich, brought in by the last government. As such, being executive chairman of Hargreaves Lansdown became rather difficult.

The end of an era, then?

Very much so. He and Mr Hargreaves might have different titles but they have effectively been co-chief executives of the firm since it was founded. They are a big part of the Bristol scene and have a bantering relationship that they have previously described as "affection by abuse". But colleagues and clients seem to enjoy their straight-talking.

What does this mean for the business?

Don't worry too much, he'll still be around as a non-executive director. He argues that his role in recent years has largely been to "challenge the board" to ensure it operates efficiently and properly. This, he thinks, is best suited to a non-executive role. So he'll remain on the board and he still holds 22 per cent of the shares.

And these other projects?

Presumably a lot more Bristol City, which has ambitions to be a World Cup venue should England get its hands on the 2018 tournament. Last spring, he sold £47m of shares in Hargreaves Lansdown to fund other projects, including Bristol City's planned new stadium.

Comments