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Cash for questions

In its first Budget following the landslide general election victory in 1997, New Labour changed the structure of tax-protected savings from Peps to Isas.
The Investment Management Association’s figures show that in the first full tax year of Isas, 1999-2000, £8.8bn net of people’s savings went into tax-wrapped unit trusts and Oeics.

Ginny Broad
Ginny Broad

The following tax year around two-thirds of this amount – £5.9bn – was invested. And the next year, 2001-02, the total was just under two thirds of the year before, at £3.7bn.

The next two tax years saw net investments coming in at less than half this level, at around £1.5bn a year.

After that, the numbers tailed off dramatically. Indeed, each of the next five tax years, up until 2008-09, saw more money flow out than was invested in Isas and Peps.

So a dramatic change was evident when Isa figures began to pick up in 2009-10. The net sales of Isas for the first half of the tax year were higher than for the whole of 2003-04, the last tax year in which the figures had been positive.

The rest of the year continued as strongly. As recent IMA figures show, net Isa sales totalled £3.6bn for 2009-10. This is the highest figure for Isa sales in eight years and reversed the trend for fund outflows we had seen for five years running.

Coincidentally or otherwise, the years in which the money poured out of Isas were also those in which the saving ratio was at or below 4.5 per cent, mostly quite a bit below.

For the three quarters of 2009-10 for which we have the figures, the savings ratio has been at 7 per cent or above, a level not seen since the late-1990s.
Nowadays, just less than £100bn of the £510.9bn of total funds under management in unit trusts and Oeics is in Isas.

IMA figures show that funds in general, not just Isas, have continued to grow and March 2010 saw total funds under management pass the £500bn level for the first time ever.

Total funds invested in UK-domiciled authorised funds passed the £100bn barrier for the first time in 1995, having taken decades to get to this level.

Four years later they passed £200bn. The year 2005 saw them exceed £300bn and a year later they exceeded £400bn.

The changes in savings into funds since the last change in Government in the UK have been profound. What changes will the next 13 years, or indeed the year ahead of us, bring?
Ginny Broad is head of communications at the Investment Management Association


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