On the 17th January ShareSoc issued a press release which pointed out that the new charges announced by Hargreaves Lansdown would mean that some investors might face a doubling of costs. See the text of the press release here: Hargreaves Lansdown Double Charges Investors. The particular problem was that anyone holding a mixture of investment trusts, funds and direct shares in a SIPP would now have two separate “caps” on overall charges.
ShareSoc was no doubt not the only body that raised this issue. A number of individual investors complained to the company to our knowledge and there was extensive media coverage of the issue after our press release came out. It is good to see that the company has responded, but it shows the importance of having a representative body for private investors like ShareSoc to get these kinds of problems raised.
Whether this u-turn will convince those investors who might have been considering a change to another platform to remain with Hargreaves Lansdown we will have to see. There were other complaints about the company’s new charging structure such as the £10 for corporate actions and the £10 if you wanted to vote your shares, which they are not revising. Investors might also have lost confidence that a company could introduce such a change in such a precipitous manner and without making it clear in their communications with shareholders what the impact would be. Such treatment of customers is never going to go down well, however quickly they rethink new charges after complaints.