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No signs of Isa revival as sales fall in January

The Isa season got off to a poor start in January as net retail sales of investment funds fell by almost 3 per cent from December.

The figures, compiled by the Investment Management Association, formerly Autif, showed net retail sales for January fell to £621.1m from £637.5m in December and from £1.1bn in January 2001 – a drop of over 40 per cent over the year.

Net Isa sales were down even further, falling by 47 per cent on last January to £275.6m from £517m.

IFAs continued to lose Isa market share to tied agents and salesforces in January, with IFAs accounting for just 35 per cent of Isa business compared with 37.5 per cent in December.

Tied channels took 40 per cent of January Isa sales while the direct channel took 25 per cent.

The UK all companies and North American fund sectors were the most popular among IFAs in January, accounting for 22 per cent and 15 per cent respectively of total intermediary sales.

In the tied sector, corporate bond funds proved to be most popular, accounting for 37 per cent of sales.

IMA head of communications Clare Arber says: “Two years of disappointing returns from equities have made many people reluctant to invest in assets which may be more volatile in the short term. However, there are signs that investors are balancing their portfolios by investing proportionally more in the UK income sectors.”

Alan Steel Asset Manage-ment consultant Alan Adam says: “We have seen a bit of activity in the last couple of weeks so I think we will get a slight pick-up towards the end of the tax year but I do not think that it will be anything like the spike we have seen in previous years.”


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