ISA season brings savers back to the fund market

Thursday 6 June 2019

The Investment Association (IA), the trade body that represents UK asset managers, has today published figures on how savers invested in April. 

  • April saw a return to positive net retail sales; it was business as usual for savers at ISA season as net retail sales cleared £2 billion for the first time since the previous April.
  • Sales that can be directly traced back to an ISA wrapper were at £826 million in April 2019, down from the previous April’s ISA sales by 7%.
  • Global was the best-selling sector with £934 million in net retail sales; April was the largest inflow into the IA Global sector on record after 12 months of positive net sales. 
  • Net retail outflows from UK equity funds dropped to £3 million, the smallest outflows since March 2017. 
  • Strong net sales to fixed income sectors continued, reaching £1.6bn in April. Fixed income sales for the year to date are £2.7 billion.

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

“ISA season has seen savers return to the fund market and set aside their Brexit concerns for now. Confidence bounced back in April, with net retail sales turning positive for the first time in six months and £2.2 billion placed into funds. Bonds fared particularly well again, a sign that investors are managing their portfolio risk. Strong sales to Mixed Asset and Global equity funds show a continued appetite for diversification.”    



The five best-selling Investment Association sectors for April 2019 were:

  1. Global was the best-selling sector with net retail sales of £934 million.
  2. £ Strategic Bond was second with net retail sales of £859 million.
  3. Global Bonds was next with net retail sales of £503 million. 
  4. Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares followed with net retail sales of £306 million. 
  5. Volatility Managed was fifth with net retail sales of £237 million. 

The worst-selling Investment Association sector in April 2019 was Targeted Absolute Return with an outflow of £501 million.


Fixed Income was the best-selling asset class with £1.6 billion in net retail sales.

Mixed Asset was the second best-selling asset class with net retail sales of £404 million.

Money Market was the third best-selling asset class with £277 in net retail sales.

Equity and Property saw net retail sales of £114 million and £44 million, respectively.  

Other (which includes the Targeted Absolute Return, Volatility Managed, Protected and Unclassified sectors) saw net retail outflows of £208 million in April. 


Global funds were the best-selling in April with net retail sales of £971 million.

Asia funds were the next best-selling with net retail sales of £92 million.

The remaining regions experienced outflows. 

UK funds experienced net retail outflows of £3 million.

North America funds saw net retail outflows of £120 million, followed by Japan funds which experienced net retail outflows of £172 million. 

Europe experienced net retail outflows of £410 million. 


Tracker funds saw a net retail inflow of £1.8 billion. Tracker funds under management stood at £201 billion as of the end of April 2019. Their overall share of industry funds under management was 16.3%.


Ethical funds experienced net retail inflows of £178 million in April 2019. Funds under management were £18 billion at the end of April, representing a 1.5% share of industry funds under management.


In April, gross retail sales for UK fund platforms totalled £11 billion, representing a market share of 50%.

Other Intermediaries including UK IFAs made gross retail sales of £5 billion, representing a market share of 22.6%.

Direct gross retail sales in April were £1.8 billion, representing a market share of 7.8%.

For further information, please contact:

Helen Ayres, Communications Manager: [email protected]

T +44 (0)20 7269 4620; M +44 (0)7508 724 066

David Parton, Communications Executive: [email protected] 

T +44 (0)20 7831 0898

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 sales:

Regional breakdown for equity funds

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 asset management, supporting British savers, investors and businesses. Our 250 members manage £7.7 trillion of assets and the asset management industry supports 100,000 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.