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May dismay as fund business slumps by 17%

Sluggish investor sentiment continued to dog the investment fund industry

in May, with unit trust and Oeic Isa sales down by more than 17 per cent on

last year.

The figures, released by Autif this week, reveal gross Isa sales of

£746.5m for May, compared with £903.2m in the same month last

year.

However, retail unit trust and Oeic sales outside Isas began to show signs

of recovery up 4.1 per cent to £1.837bn from £1.765bn in May 2000.

The most popular sectors continued to be the more conservative income and

bond sectors, although the UK All Companies sector still dominates the UK

retail marketplace.

IFAs have extended their grip on the retail investment market place this

year, accounting for 62.1 per cent of all retail investment fund sales in

May – up from 54.7 per cent in May 2000.

Sales through tied and direct channels have fallen, with direct down to

13.6 per cent from 18 per cent, and tied down to 17.1 per cent from 22 per

cent.

Despite a number of fund liquidations and mergers over the past year, the

total number of unit trusts and Oeics has increased by 5.8 per cent, up to

1,932 from 1,826.

Autif pr manager Clare Arber says: “It is a seasonal trend for sales of

unit trusts and Oeics to slow down in May. This year is no different but

investment levels are lower. While institutions continue to view equities

worldwide in a positive light, private investors still seem wary of using

the stockmarket to create long term growth.”

Bates Investment head of research James Dalby says: “People are feeling

more positive and business is picking up but we have by no means shaken off

the effects of the poor stockmarket.”

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