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Isa season flat but bond funds dominate sales

Isa sales figures from the major fund platforms indicate that this season was fairly flat, with corporate bonds still the dominant asset class.

Cofunds reports an increase in sales of just 0.8% on last year’s Isa season.

Between March 1 and April 6, three Invesco Perpetual offerings and two from M&G make up the five bestsellers on the platform. Invesco Perpetual High Income and Invesco Perpetual Corporate Bond with and without trail, sit alongside M&G Corporate Bond and Strategic Corporate Bond, both run by Richard Woolnough.

On April 2, four Fidelity FundsNetwork funds made the top five alongside Invesco Perpetual High Income: FNW Cash Park, Fidelity MoneyBuilder Income, Multi-Asset Strategic and MoneyBuilder Index.

Peter Hicks, Fidelity FundsNetwork’s head of UK retail sales, says sales dipped this year.

“Early indications suggest Isa sales are slightly down this tax year-end compared with last year for Fidelity and FundsNetwork as a whole,’ he says. “It looked as though February might have been materially down but sales came back in March and were almost back to normal by April.”

Hicks is reasonably satisfied with the numbers this season, given a tough economic environment and low in­vestor appetite.

Fidelity’s Cash Park fund enjoyed a last minute surge in sales as investors delaying investment decisions acted to keep their tax allowance, he adds.

Looking to next season, Hicks hopes the situation will have stabilised, and even if the economy has not bottomed, the market should rise which will help improve investor sentiment after a long bear market.

Skandia’s Selestia Investment Solutions platform notes a lack of pure equity funds among its top sellers this season, with corporate bonds sweeping the board instead.
Five M&G funds and two Invesco Perpetual funds made the top 10 in March, as well as two of Skandia’s own Spectrum risk-graded funds making an appearance. Newton International Bond was a new entry into the bestseller list.

This is a striking contrast to bestsellers in March 2008 that included then fashionable funds BlackRock Gold & General, JPMorgan Natural Resources and Allianz RCM Bric Stars, illustrating how little risk investors will tolerate in a recession.

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