Funds and Isas see little new money

Total net sales also fell significantly in January, with an outflow of £134.8m compared with December’s sales of £672.7m. According to the IMA, an outflow from the institutional sector was the reason for the negative net sales figure in January. Total funds under management, however, rose 1% to £278m in January compared with the previous month.

Isa sales fell in January for the first time since the first ever net outflow last September. Isa sales were down to £38.9m, falling 58% from December, and were 79% lower than the January 2004 figure of £184.4m. Isa funds under management grew slightly in January, up 1% on December to £38bn, which was 20% higher than the same period last year.

Despite the poor sales figures for the entire industry for the first month of the year, Fidelity Investments has posted positive figures so far in 2005. The volume of its gross investment fund sales is up 15% on the same period last year. M&G also reported that its net fund inflows grew 48% to £2bn in 2004, with gross fund inflows up 61% over the same period. According to the Association of Investment Trust Companies, total purchases of investment trust Isas increased by 2% in 2004.

Richard Saunders (pictured), chief executive of the Investment Management Association, acknowledges that in spite of the continuing improvement in the stockmarket, there has been little new money flowing into funds and Isas so far in 2005.

The UK Equity Income sector continued its run as the best-selling sector in terms of net retail sales for the eighth month in a row. The second most popular sector was the Cautious Managed sector, while the Active Managed sector became the worst-selling sector in the first month of the year.

In terms of gross retail sales, the UK All Companies sector was the most popular sector again in January, accounting for 23% of investment. In second place was UK Equity Income with 17%, while the third most popular sector was UK Corporate Bond with 9%.

Intermediaries continued to be the most popular distribution channel in January, accounting for 78% of gross retail sales of investment funds. Tied agents were responsible for 45% of gross Isa sales in January, according to the IMA.