Summer lull does not account for bad figures

Although a summer lull is normal, last month’s figures were particularly bad, and the IMA acknowledges that low investor confidence was probably to blame. A rise in repurchases was the main factor: retail repurchases rose to £2,019m compared with £1,409m the year before, and Isa repurchases rose to £322m from £152m. Gross retail sales at £2,088m were just below the £2,175m in the corresponding month in 2003.

Intermediaries were by far the most important sales channel. In August they accounted for retail gross sales of £1.5bn out of an industry total of about £2bn. But the direct from public channel is a net seller of funds: last month it accounted for a net outflow of £270m, of which over £78m was in Isas.