Wall Street hedge fund takes short position against Hargreaves Lansdown

FundJan 3, 2024

US hedge fund firm Point72 Asset Management is the latest player to take a short position against UK investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown, following a testing 2023 for the company.

Point72 is headed by Steve Cohen, which, alongside European division Point72 Europe (London), took a net short position against HL, at 0.5% and 0.66%, respectively, according to the Financial Conduct Authority's latest daily short data.

Point72 AM opened its position on 13 December 2023, with the European group following suit two days later.

According to the FCA data, there are currently seven active short positions against HL, including one from BlackRock Asset Management.

Hargreaves Lansdown underwent a turbulent year in 2023, reporting lower growth across the business in Q3, although its asset under management increased by £800m for the period.The company was demoted to the FTSE 250 from the UK's blue-chip index in the November rebalancing, after 12 years in the FTSE 100.

It has also faced several negative ratings from various agencies, which flagged Consumer Duty risks and more downside than upside for the company.

Hargreaves is facing pushback from its own investors as well, after shareholders voted against nine resolutions at its recent annual general meeting, which saw chair Deanna Oppenheimer step down the week before the assembly and withdraw her motion to re-stand as chair from the agenda.

The company's promotion of Neil Woodford's former Woodford Equity Income fund (WEIF) up to its suspension in 2019 has also continued to plague it, after Woodford investors were urged to join a lawsuit against the platform in an attempt to reclaim lost assets at the end of last year.

RGL Management filed in the High Court in October 2022 on behalf of around 3,000 investors in the Woodford fund and its claim includes anyone who invested in the portfolio via the platform.

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