Peter Hargreaves

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Peter Hargreaves, Source: Leave.EU

Peter Hargreaves is the billionaire co-founder of investment company Hargreaves Lansdown, one of Britain’s richest men, and a major Brexit donor.

Brexit

Major donor to EU 'leave' campaign

Hargreaves is one of several influential bankers and businesspeople who bankrolled the Brexit campaign to leave the European Union ahead of a national referendum on 23 June 2016.

UK Electoral Commission records revealed that Hargreaves gave UK £3.2 million to Leave.EU, the second largest donor on either side of the campaign. Other leave backers included Arron Banks, Lord Michael Farmer, former Tory treasurer, and Peter Cruddas, the former Tory party co-treasurer and founder of the trading firm CMC Markets. [1]

Hargreaves was a co-signatory to a 2009 letter published in the Financial Times entitled: 'Britain must negotiate a new relationship with Europe'.

Brexit would be 'Good for the UK'

Hargreaves is opposed to what he sees as a bureaucratic EU, and believes that Brexit will be a stimulus for British business.

In an interview with Geoff King of Bloomberg Brief, Hargreaves outlined why he avidly supports leaving the European Union in the referendum on 23 June. When asked why he was leaning this way, Hargreaves resolutely responded:

'Every year in the EU it gets more political, it gets more legislative, more regulative; we don’t seem to get very much benefit from it. We will be far better out. The EU as an economic mark is declining in the world, when there were only nine countries in it was 30 percent of the world's GDP, now there are 28 it is only 17 percent. That's some serious decline. Other countries that are growing — India, parts of Africa, Brazil, China and even Russia — are the places we should be trading with'.

When asked what the fate of the EU would be in the result of Brexit, he declared that the departure of the U.K would spell the beginning of the end for the integration project:

'The EU will disintegrate when we leave. They will realise there is nothing left. The political union is going to be a disaster and they'll want a free-trade area. Do you know who'll be the first country invited to that free trade area? The U.K.' [2]

Brexit backers suffer big losses

In June 2016, the Financial Times reported that Hargreaves had suffered serious losses as a result of market volatility in the wake of the Brexit vote.

In the days following the referendum, in which a majority of more than one million voted for withdrawal from the EU, Hargreaves' 32 percent share in the group fell by about £400 million, which was eventually rounded down to £300 million by the close of trading.

Mr Hargreaves, however, sounded quite nonplussed by it all: 'I am not greatly worried...I have been invested in the stock market since I was 11 years old and most of my wealth is tied up in shares but I’ve found that the stock market goes up and down. And my wealth has gone up since Tuesday.' [3]

Brexit Donations

Recorded by the Electoral Commission:

Date Name of donor Amount Donated to
11/03/2011 Mr Peter K Hargreaves £10,000.00 No Campaign Limited
09/03/2016 Mr Peter Hargreaves £3,200,000.00 Leave.EU
[4]

Affiliations

Business interests

Hargreaves co-founded Hargreaves Lansdown in 1981 alongside Stephen Lansdown. He stepped down as firm co-director in April 2015 although remains a major shareholder.

In 2017 Hargreaves announced the launch of a new fund management group called Blue Whale.[5]


Notes

  1. Rajeev Syal and Diana Gangan​, [1], The Guardian, 11 May 2016, accessed same day
  2. Geoff King, 'Why UK billionaire believes Brexit would be good for the UK', 17 June 2016, Zerohedge, accessed 21 June 2016
  3. Kate Burgess, 'Brexit backers hit by big losses on company shares', 29 June 2016, Financial Times, accessed 4 July 2016
  4. Electoral Commission, Peter Hargreaves Donation Search, accessed 20 June 2016
  5. Does Peter Hargreaves have a whale of an opportunity for UK investors?, Guardian, 9 Sept 2017