Peter Hargreaves jokes that when he worked at a small financial company in Bristol in 1979, the only colleague who would grab a beer with him after work was one several years his junior by the name of Stephen Lansdown.

Their friendship led to a business partnership that changed the way in which Britain’s middle classes invest their cash, save for retirement and trade shares.

Those jobs at the finance firm did not last and they set up an office in a spare bedroom in Hargreaves’ house in the upmarket Clifton area of Bristol. It was 1981 — and with just one typewriter, borrowed desks and a stationery cupboard fashioned out of a wardrobe, they set about creating a business to provide information on unit

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