Hargreaves and Schroders owners among EU referendum donors

Peter Hargreaves 700x450

Hargreaves Lansdown and Schroders have distanced themselves from large donations by their respective majority owners to EU referendum lobby groups.

This week Peter Hargreaves, co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, was revealed as the largest donor to any EU referendum campaign group, contributing £3.2m to the Leave EU Group.

Bruno Schroder, who is of German descent, donated £50,000 to the In Campaign.

In a statement, Hargreaves Lansdown says Hargreaves was entitled to his opinion, but did not speak for the company or its directors.

“Hargreaves Lansdown is not taking a position and will remain neutral in this debate. Whilst we will always speak up in the interests of savers and investors, we regard the referendum as a political matter and therefore one for the British people to decide,” says a statement from the company.

A spokesperson at Schroders says the donation by its majority owner was a matter for the Schroder family and not the company.

“We as a business have not taken a position on the EU referendum as we think it’s something for the British public to decide,” she says.

Schroder, who owns an estate in Islay, Scotland, committed £30,000 to the Better Together campaign to keep Scotland as part of the UK in the lead up to its independence vote in 2014.

The two men are the most notable names from the asset management industry donating to the either cause.

Other donors from financial services include hedge funders, such as Winton Capital founder David Harding, and banks, such as Morgan Stanley and Citigroup – all donating to the In Campaign.

Both Hargreaves and Schroder featured in the Sunday Times Rich List, released last month, with Hargreaves worth an estimated £2.15bn, while Schroder’s net worth was estimated at £4.06bn.

Hargreaves retains a £1.97bn stake in the business, while the Schroder family owns a 47.9 per cent stake in the eponymous company.