Investor confidence remains strong with stable inflows across sectors in May

UK savers remain positive in the broader market, making stable allocations across asset classes, data published today by the Investment Association (IA) reveals. The other key findings for May include:

•  Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares was the best-selling IA sector for the first time since August 2019.
•  Investors placed £3.5 billion into funds in May, with £2 billion allocated to actively managed funds and £1.5 billion allocated to index trackers. 
•  Property funds experienced further outflows. 
•  Europe funds experienced inflows of £101 million, after four months of outflows, following a period of strong performance from European stocks.

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of the Investment Association, said:
“The overall mood remains positive as we head into the summer. In response to European stocks performing well, UK savers invested £101 million into Europe funds – the first month of inflows to this region this year. Elsewhere, it was encouraging to see that demand for responsible investment funds remains high, reaching flows of £5.5 billion year-to-date.”



Funds Under Management

Net Retail Sales

Net Institutional Sales

May 2021 

£1.5 trillion

£3.5 billion

-£613 billion

May 2020

£1.3 trillion

£4.8 billion

£776 billion

The five best-selling Investment Association sectors for May 2021 were:
1.  Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares was first with net retail sales of £692 million.

2.  Global was second with net retail sales of £445 million. 

3.  Volatility Managed followed with net retail sales of £394 million.

4.  Global Emerging Markets was fourth with net retail sales of £378 million. 

5.  £ Corporate Bond was fifth with net retail sales of £310 million.

The worst-selling Investment Association sector in May 2021 was UK Equity Income with an outflow of £375 million.


Mixed Asset funds were the best-selling asset class in May 2021 with £1.2 billion in net retail sales.

Equity was the second best-selling asset class, with £1 billion of inflows.

Fixed Income funds experienced £986 million of inflows. 

Other funds (which includes the Targeted Absolute Return, Volatility Managed, and Unclassified sectors) experienced £388 million of net retail sales.

Money Market funds experienced net retail inflows in May of £25 million.

Property funds however experienced £184 million in net retail outflows. 


Global was the best-selling equity fund region in May 2021, with net retail sales of £736 million.

North America funds were second, seeing net retail inflows of £206 million.

Europe funds saw net retail inflows of £101 million.

Asia funds experienced net retail inflows of £59 million.

UK funds was the only equity fund region that experienced outflows, which totalled -£571 million.


Tracker funds saw a net retail inflow of £1.5 billion in May 2021. Tracker funds under management stood at £271 billion as of the end of May. Their overall share of industry funds under management was 17.9%.


Responsible investment funds saw a net retail inflow of £1.3 billion in May 2021. Responsible investment funds under management stood at £73 billion as of the end of May. Their overall share of industry funds under management was 4.8%.


In May, gross retail sales for UK fund platforms totalled £14 billion, representing a market share of 50.5%. 
Gross retail sales through Other UK Intermediaries including IFAs were £7 billion, representing a market share of 25.0%. 
Direct gross retail sales in May were £1.6 billion, representing a market share of 5.6%. 

For further information, please contact:

Katie Martin, Head of Communications: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)20 7269 4655

Camilla Esmund, Communications Executive: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)20 7269 4625

IA press office: [email protected]

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






North America


Asia Pacific excl. Japan

Europe excl. UK



North America

UK All Companies

Asia Pacific incl. Japan

Europe incl. UK

Global Emerging Markets

Japanese Smaller Companies

North America Smaller Companies

UK Equity Income

China/Greater China

Europe Smaller Companies

Global Equity Income


UK Smaller Companies




Technology and Telecommunications




















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, Quilter 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 £8.5 trillion of assets and the investment management industry supports 113,000 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 35% of all assets managed in Europe.