Active funds lead as retail sales near £5 billion

UK savers put £4.7 billion into retail funds in May 2020 building on the positive fund flows in April, according to latest figures published today by the Investment Association (IA). The other key findings:

  • Active funds saw continued strong net retail sales of £3.5 billion in May, reaching more than double the net retail sales of tracker funds, which saw £1.3 billion in net retail inflows.
  • Bond funds saw net retail sales double from April, with £1.9 billion in May.
  • Responsible Investment funds saw another month of strong net retail sales, attracting £911 million in May.

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of the Investment Association, said:

“It was steady as she goes for the fund market in May, as net retail sales continued their stable recovery after significant outflows in March.

“Building on strong inflows in April, active funds ​were boosted by £3.5 billion in May, while tracker funds also benefited. Bond funds were also buoyed in May, doubling April’s inflows to £1.9 billion.

“Responsible investment funds sustained their strong momentum by pulling in close to a record £1 billion for a second month in a row.”


  Funds Under Management

Net Retail Sales

Net Institutional Sales

May 2020   £1.2 trillion £4.7 billion £674 million
May 2019 £1.2 trillion £1 billion -£865 million


The five best-selling Investment Association sectors for May 2020 were:

  1. Global was first with net retail sales of £873 million.
  2. Short Term Money Market was second with net retail sales of £829 million.
  3. North America followed with net retail sales of £729 million. 
  4. £ Corporate Bond was fourth with net retail sales of £675 million.
  5. Global Bonds was fifth with net retail sales of £579 million.

The worst-selling Investment Association sector in May 2020 was Europe Excluding UK with an outflow of £451 million.


Fixed Income was the best-selling asset class in May 2020 with £1.9 billion in net retail sales.

Equity was the second best-selling asset class, with £1.6 billion of inflows.

Money Market funds experienced £579 million of inflows.

Mixed Asset funds were next with £572 million of net retail inflows in May

Other (which includes the Targeted Absolute Return, Volatility Managed, and Unclassified sectors) was next with £151 million in net retail sales in May.

Property funds were the only asset class to experience net retail outflows in May of £21 million.


Global was the best-selling equity fund region in May 2020, with net retail sales of £740 million.

North America funds were second, seeing net retail inflows of £715 million.

UK funds also experienced net retail inflows in May, of £422 million.

All other equity regions experienced outflows in May.

Japan funds saw net retail outflows of £25 million.

Asia funds saw net retail outflows of £110 million.

Europe funds experienced net retail outflows of £500 million.


Tracker funds saw a net retail inflow of £1.3 billion in May 2020. Tracker funds under management stood at £224 billion as of the end of May. Their overall share of industry funds under management was 18%.


Responsible investment funds saw a net retail inflow of £911 million in May 2020. Responsible investment funds under management stood at £31 billion as of the end of May. Their overall share of industry funds under management was 2.5%.


In May, gross retail sales for UK fund platforms totalled £12 billion, representing a market share of 49%.

Gross retail sales through Other UK Intermediaries including IFAs were £7 billion, representing a market share of 27%.

Direct gross retail sales in May were £1.8 billion, representing a market share of 7%.


For further information, please contact:

Katie Martin, Head of Communications: [email protected]

T: +44 (0)20 7269 4655

Helen Ayres, Communications Manager: [email protected] 

T: +44 (0)20 7269 4620

David Parton, Communications Executive: [email protected]

T: +44 (0)20 7269 4625

IA press office: [email protected]

T: 020 7269 4696

Notes for Editors 

To see a breakdown of the data referenced in this press release, please see all of the tables here.

The Investment Association's figures for fund sales cover retail and institutional sales in authorised unit trusts and open ended investment companies (OEICs) provided by our membership to UK investors. The figures do not include investment trusts and ETFs.

Each month small revisions to figures have been made since the previous press release. This reflects additional information received by The Investment Association.

Net retail sales comprise total retail sales minus repurchases (including switches between funds), thus the figures can result in a negative figure or outflow.

* Regional breakdown for equity funds

The following Investment Association sectors have been grouped together to compile the figures for regional equity sales:

Equity regions

Direct Channels

Direct includes sales forces and tied agents, private clients and other direct to investor sales without intermediation.

** The Investment Association’s ISA figures are based on information collected from fund companies and five fund platforms (AEGON, Fidelity, Hargreaves Lansdown, Old Mutual Wealth and Transact) where they are the ISA provider. Fund business through other ISA providers such as wealth managers is not included. The Investment Association’s figures cover about three-quarters of the whole of the market for funds held in ISAs.

About the Investment Association (IA):

  • The IA champions UK investment management, supporting British savers, investors and businesses. Our 250 members manage £7.7 trillion of assets and the investment management industry supports 115,000 jobs across the UK.
  • Our mission is to make investment better. Better for clients, so they achieve their financial goals. Better for companies, so they get the capital they need to grow. And better for the economy, so everyone prospers.
  • Our purpose is to ensure investment managers are in the best possible position to:
    • Build people’s resilience to financial adversity
    • Help people achieve their financial aspirations
    • Enable people to maintain a decent standard of living as they grow older
    • Contribute to economic growth through the efficient allocation of capital.
  • The money our members manage is in a wide variety of investment vehicles including authorised investment funds, pension funds and stocks and shares ISAs.
  • The UK is the second largest investment management centre in the world, after the US and manages 37% of all assets managed in Europe.