Isa sales rocket more than 50% since last year

February’s net Isa sales were 53% higher than in the same period last year, according to statistics from the Investment Management Association.

Net sales were 131m, compared with 86m in 2005. This was the result of a 40% rise in gross sales, totalling 582m. Isa redemptions for the month were up 36%, at 451m.

Isa sales are expected to increase further as the current tax year draws to a close.

Recent research by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership shows that between 2001 and 2005, 22% of net Isa inflows were received during March and the first five days of April.

This was as high as 45% last year, with net Isa sales equating to 65m a day between April 1 and 5.

The findings, released last week, also show that 4.7 million people claim to have invested in a stocks and shares Isa during the 2005/6 tax year. However, a further 3.7 million are planning to invest before April 5.

According to IMA data, the UK All Companies sector was most popular with Isa investors in February, with 99m in gross sales.

This was followed by UK Equity Income (33m) and the Global Growth sector (28m).

Overall, the February figures showed a continuation of the strong start to 2006 by the fund management industry.

Total gross sales were up 49%, from 4.9bn to 7.3bn, compared with the same period in 2005.

The proportions of retail and institutional inflows were the same: 61% and 39% respectively.

However, institutional redemptions accounted for 42% of total outflows, compared with 37% last year. Total redemptions rose by 37%, from 3.8bn to 5.2bn.