Hargreaves, 70, gave £3.2m to the Leave campaign in the recent EU referendum, the largest individual donation, but was not fazed by the £400m dent his fortune took in the stockmarket turmoil that followed the Brexit vote.
Hargreaves, who trained as an accountant and later did audit work for Whitbread and other blue-chip companies, co-founded Bristol-based Hargreaves Lansdown with fellow accountant Steve Lansdown (qv) in 1981, offering financial advice from a spare room in Hargreaves’s Clifton cottage. “Peter would go out getting business on odd days, I’d be out on even days," Lansdown recalled. Drawing on their backgrounds, they initially targeted accountancy companies but it was the use of ads in a national newspaper offering advice through the “maze” of 100 unit trusts – there are now more than 1,500 – that helped the operation grow. It floated in 2007 valued at £700m, and with the shares having rebounded since last June’s EU referendum the group is now worth more than £6.5bn.
Hargreaves, who is no longer on the board, retains a 32.18% holding worth nearly £2.1bn – up more than £130m on last year. Share sales and dividends, including more than £50m in the past year, take him to £2.315bn.