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Big Isa haul masks outflows from Asia and bonds, IMA stats

Individual savings accounts recorded their best sales in nine years over the run-up to the end of the financial year, according to the Investment Management Association.

The period running March 1 to April 5, the last day of the financial year, brought in £956m in Isa sales. For the wider tax year, Isa sales of £3.7 billion were recorded, making it the second best haul in 10 years.

Isas make up 18 per cent of all authorised funds under management, or a total of £106.4 billion.

Overall, in March, funds housed in the UK experienced net retail sales of £1.9 billion.

With £739m, equities was the leading asset class for the month. Balanced was the second highest with £411m.

The best-selling IMA sector in March was £ strategic bond with retail sales of £337m, the highest since the same month the previous year. Global was the second most popular with £287m, followed by the cautious managed sector with £255m and then absolute return UK.

Japan also saw the fifth highest inflows with £146m, despite its earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in the same month.

However, outside Japan the Asia Pacific region struggled, despite strong popularity with retail investors in recent years.

Asia Pacific excluding Japan was the worst selling sector, with net outflows of £185m on top of withdrawals of £25m from China funds.

All European equity sectors saw also outflows, as did global bonds and more traditional British sectors with a heavy fixed income component, such as £ corporate Bond, UK equity and bond income and UK gilts.

Investors currently see all three areas as struggling amid a climate of higher inflation.

Overall, investment platforms benefited from the activity over March. Funds under management on platforms were £109 billion over the same period and net retail sales made through the platforms totalled £1.2 billion. The result is the best since January 2008.

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