Stephen Lansdown: Financial services has ‘lost its mojo’

Added 5th October 2017

The UK’s financial services sector has “lost its mojo” because it has forgotten about servicing clients amid the maelstrom of regulation, according to Stephen Lansdown.

Stephen Lansdown: Financial services has ‘lost its mojo’

Lansdown, chairman of Ravenscroft and co-founder of FTSE 100-listed platform and broker Hargreaves Lansdown, said a negative attitude has prevailed on the back of the regulator’s recent spate of measures, including its asset management and platform reviews, and impending Mifid II regulation.

Speaking to Portfolio Adviser, Lansdown said clients are often the last thing to be considered when they should be the first because “everything is done” to protect the regulator, the government and the European Union.

Lansdown said continuing this approach could stifle both investment appetite from clients and innovation from providers.

He said: “All those things drag you down because there is something else you need to deal with and all you want to do is focus on clients. I think the financial services industry has forgotten it has clients and has to look after clients.

“People would argue [the regulator] is doing it to protect the investor, but actually all it is doing is protecting the investor so much that they are never going to make a proper investment decision again if we’re not careful.”

Lansdown said Ravenscroft’s “fresh approach” was part of the reason he backed the firm and came onboard as chairman earlier this year. He owns almost one third of the company.

“What we are providing is something I’m not sure the UK market has seen for a while,” he said. “We are not a start up, we have a good investment track record and it is a growing dynamic company. We are not having to overcome the barriers of regulation so we’re bringing a fresh approach and fund range into the UK market.”

Lansdown was speaking to PA just prior to the announcement that he had sold a £190m stake (13 million shares) in Hargreaves Lansdown.

He said: “For 30 years I was involved in growing one of the best businesses in the UK in the fund management sector. I look at the market now and think everyone is saying the same thing, it is all boring.

“I think the financial services sector in the UK is good but it has lost its mojo a bit. That is why what we have to offer is a fresh approach to doing it.”

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About Author

Sebastian joined Last Word Media in 2017 as editor of Portfolio Adviser. He previously spent 10 years as a journalist and editor in the UK institutional investment sector, most recently as editor of Portfolio Institutional. Prior to that, he held several roles at Professional Pensions which is part of Incisive Media.

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