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Investors &#39dip their toes&#39

Investors are slowly returning to the market, according to the latest ABI figures.

Life and pension business in the first half of 2004 rose by 4 per cent annual premium equivalent to £2.61bn compared with £2.47bn in the same period last year.

Sales of single-premium collective investment schemes, including Isas except insurance Isas, Peps, Oeics and unit trusts, increased by 22 per cent to £164m compared with £94m last year.

But there was a 3 per cent fall in sales of single-premium pensions, including personal pensions, DSS rebates, free-standing AVCs, group personal pensions, stakeholder and employer-sponsored stakeholder pensions. Total business fell to £502m from £522m.

Levels of mortgage-linked term insurance sales remained static compared with a year ago, despite record levels of mortgage lending in July.

Head of life and pensions Chris Kenny says: “It is encouraging to report increases in some areas of savings. We now want to see this improvement spread across all the savings market.”

Sofa chairman Nick Bamford says: “Pensions are still very much in the doldrums. This is an emotional thing more than anything else. All the news consumers see has been negative repetition of past misselling issues. It will take some time for the mood to pick up.

“Money going into investments is a reflection of stockmarket performance and I think it is an indication that people are starting to dip their toes back in the water.”

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