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Dampier says Isa sales are dire

Hargreaves Lansdown bel-ieves stocks and shares Isa sales have

plummeted by as much as 80 per cent this season, with some fund

managers suffering a 90 per cent slump in new business.

Head of research Mark Dampier says war in Iraq, the three-year bear

market and scandals in the structured product and split-capital

investment trust sectors have prompted almost all potential new

investors to shelve plans to buy an Isa.

Although he has no figures to support his contention – the Investment

Management Association monthly figures are not yet available –

Dampier says anecdotal evidence suggests that some companies&#39 sales

have sunk by 90 per cent and he believes that some of the most badly

hit companies have not even had a single postal application.

Despite his gloomy prediction, Dampier says current sales should not

be compared with the boom times of 1999 and early 2000, when sales

were around 30 per cent up on what he calls “normal” years. But he

also cannot envisage the situation improving.

He says: “No one wants to admit it but sales are dire. I should think

they are down by 80 per cent, with some groups down by 90 per cent.

Considering all that has gone on, it is hardly a surprise but with

the war, it is not getting any better.”

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