Investors ‘wait and see’ in October 

Net retail sales of investment funds totalled £1.7 billion in October, the lowest total inflow since September 2020, data published today by the Investment Association (IA) reveals. Weaker inflows to equity funds of £280 million dragged down net sales for the industry as a whole. The other key findings for October include: 

  • Global was the best-selling IA sector in October for the fifth month in a row with strong inflows of £730 million. 
  • Responsible Investment fund flows remained strong with £1.5 billion of net retail sales. 
  • Funds categorised as ‘Other’ in IA data which includes the Targeted Absolute Return, Volatility Managed, Unclassified sectors, and the newly launched IA Commodity/Natural Resources and Infrastructure sectors) was the best-selling asset class with £698 million in net retail sales.  
  • Outflows from UK equities (-£661m) and North America (-£180m) were partly offset by inflows to funds investing in Global equities (£586) and Asia (£201) but equity net sales overall were down by £700 million from September. 
  • Property funds experienced a fourth consecutive month of inflows, with net retail sales of £17 million. 

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of the Investment Association, said: “Building on what we saw in September, a key theme for October appears to be ‘wait and see’ for many savers. Uncertainty around how much, and how fast, interest rates are going to rise to try to ease inflation may be a factor but investors are also feeling the pinch of rising prices and may simply feel less able to put money aside, whether to cash savings or investments. In addition, investors will be keeping an eye on when central banks start to unwind quantitative easing more, which will have an impact on equity valuations. Time will tell how the Omicron variant will impact sales in November and December.” 




Funds Under Management  

Net Retail Sales  

Net Institutional Sales  

October 2021   

£1.6 trillion 

£1.7 billion 

-£224 million 

October 2020 

£1.3 trillion 

£2.5 billion 

-£8.4 billion 


The five best-selling Investment Association sectors for October 2021 were: 

  1. Global was first with net retail sales of £730 million. 
  1. Mixed Investment 40-80% was second with net retail sales of £403 million. 
  1. Volatility Managed followed with net retail sales of £387 million. 
  1. Asia Pacific Excluding Japan was fourth with net retail sales of £170 million. 
  1. Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares was fifth with £139 million. 

The worst-selling Investment Association sector in October 2021 was UK All Companies, which experienced outflows of £349 million. 


Other (which includes the Targeted Absolute Return, Volatility Managed, and Unclassified sectors) was the best-selling asset class in October 2021, with £698 million in net retail sales. 

Fixed Income was the second best-selling asset class, with £597 million of inflows. 

Mixed Asset funds was the third best-selling asset class again in October, with £578 million of inflows.  

Equity funds experienced lower than usual levels of inflows in October, with net retail sales of £280 million. 

Property funds saw net retail sales of £17 million, in its fourth consecutive month of inflows. 

Money Market funds experienced £437 million of outflows. 


Global was the best-selling equity fund region in October 2021, with net retail sales of £586 million. 

Asia was second with net retail sales of £201 million. 

Europe funds experienced net retail inflows of £19 million. 

UK, Japan, and North America funds all experienced outflows in October 2021. The UK saw net retail outflows of £661 million, North America funds experienced outflows of £187 million, and Japan funds saw £8 million of outflows. 


Tracker funds saw a net retail inflow of £1.45 billion in October 2021. Tracker funds under management stood at £291 billion as of the end of October. Their overall share of industry funds under management was 18.6%. 


Responsible investment funds saw a net retail inflow of £1.5 billion in October 2021. Responsible investment funds under management stood at £88.7 billion as of the end of October. Their overall share of industry funds under management was 5.7%. 


In October, gross retail sales for UK fund platforms totalled £12.8 billion, representing a market share of 54.1%.  

Gross retail sales through Other UK Intermediaries including IFAs were £5.9 billion, representing a market share of 24.8%.  

Direct gross retail sales in October were £836 million, representing a market share of 3.5%.  




For further information, please contact: 


Katie Martin, Head of Communications: [email protected] 

Camilla Esmund, Communications Executive:[email protected] 

T: +44 (0)20 7269 4625 

IA press office: [email protected] 

Notes for Editors 

This data includes the six new sectors launched from the Investment Association’s (IA) Global and Specialist sectors on Monday 13 September 2021. 

For a full breakdown of the data, please see here.

Currently, the two sectors are among the largest within the classification scheme, with 471 funds included within the IA Global sector and 332 in the IA Specialist sector. As the retail fund market evolves and grows, the creation of the new sectors will help investors to more easily find similar types of funds. The decision to create the new sectors was taken by the IA Sectors Committee after a public consultation with the industry and sector users.  

New country - regional equity sectors:  

  • Latin America 
  • India/Indian Subcontinent 

Industry sectors: 

  • Financials and Financial Innovation 
  • Healthcare 

Alternative investment approaches: 

  • Infrastructure 
  • Commodity/Natural Resources.


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 salescomprise 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: 

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 270 members manage £9.4 trillion of assets and the investment management industry supports 114,000 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.