5 Things we learnt from HL's results
1. Mobile is crucial
At Boring Money we’ve been talking about this for a while now. A lot of firms still don’t have a great mobile app, allowing customers to view their portfolio, research and transact hassle-free on their phone. Research we conducted at the start of this year shows half of retail investors trading in the previous 12 months had done so on mobile. And 50% of 18-34 year-olds say the ability to manage their investments via a mobile app is important when choosing a product. HL’s results illustrate the point perfectly – mobile logins are up 110% in the space of a year.
2. Content is King
In an industry that typically struggles to communicate in consumer-friendly language, firms that get content right have a significant competitive advantage. HL enjoyed nearly 400,000 downloads of their ‘guides’ in the last 12 months (downloadable documents explaining the basics of Sipps, Isas and fund investing). Getting this right is a crucial tool for keeping existing customers engaged, and winning over new investors. This is especially true with some many newbies learnings the ropes.
3. Customer growth is off the charts
At Boring Money we track growth across the leading DIY platforms and robos, measuring AUA and customer account growth, as well as other metrics like age. The addition of 233,000 new customers in the first six months of 2021 at HL is consistent with wider trends –year to date AUA growth across the market stands at 14%, our figures show, while customer account growth to the end of June was 15%. For firms that have tended to focus on the wealthier, advised cohort, it is now becoming harder to ignore the growth of the DIY investor.
4. Investors are getting younger
The growth in new, relatively young customers is changing the demography of the investor population. HL’s figures reflect a trend we’ve seen in recent years, with the average age of a DIY investor coming down quickly. Our Online Investing Report shows the average age of a D2C platform customer is now 47, while the typical robo user is just 37. HL’s market update reveals that the median age of their platform customers is now just 46, down from 58 in 2007.
5. Demand for ESG is on the up
HL said it had seen ‘a step change in retail investor interest in ESG’. That mirrors the trend we’ve seen in our Investor Tracker monitor – as sentiment improves investors are increasingly looking for new opportunities, with ethical and sustainable funds looking set to be the big beneficiaries. Our latest Investor Tracker results show that confidence in the world economy is now at its highest level since the start of the pandemic, and well over half (58%) of investors now plan to increase the amount invested in their portfolio. Interest in sustainable and ethical funds showed the sharpest increases, along with multi-asset, while other sectors saw less pronounced pick-up in investor appetite.