Modest inflow to bonds as ISA savers continue to commit to long-term investing

UK investors put £409 million into funds in February following last month’s inflow of £1.4 billion, according to data published today by the Investment Association (IA).

Key findings for February 2023:

  • Bond funds saw strong inflows this month at £1.1 billion, a slight decrease from January’s £1.6 billion inflow.

  • Equity funds saw outflows soften to £696 million, down from January’s £916 million. Outflows from UK equities increased slightly to £1.6 billion, the worst outflow since January 2022, while North American equities saw slightly stronger inflows at £557 million, up from £361 million in January.

Today, as the next tax year starts, many investors will have taken the opportunity to top up their ISA allowances. The IA and Opinium have surveyed 1,000 investors to take the temperature on their attitude to ISAs and investing. Our data suggests that stocks and shares ISA investors are still in it for the long-term and continue to believe that investing offers superior returns over cash and crypto currencies. According to the survey results:  

  • Almost half of savers (48%) are using their stocks and shares ISA to save for retirement, although for the youngest demographic (18-34 years) saving for a property was the top priority. A quarter (24%) of savers are using a stocks and shares ISA as a rainy-day fund, the next highest percentage.

  • On their motivation for investing in a stock and shares ISA, just over half of investors (55%) believed it would give them a better long-term return, while a third (31%) of investors surveyed felt that rising inflation means that cash savings are losing value. A fifth (20%) wanted the opportunity to invest in innovative companies, tax efficiently.

  • Despite the rising cost-of-living, the majority (81%) of investors ended this tax year having invested more or the same amount into their ISA than in the previous tax year. However, 15% have cut back on saving into their stocks and shares ISA. The most significant reason for doing so was rising energy, food, and transport costs (43%), while a third (34%) of investors highlighted the turbulence in markets.

  • Only 4% of respondents believed investing in crypto currencies would provide a better return than investing in equities and bonds over the next three years.

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

“February’s steady inflows were largely driven by bond funds, which saw inflows of £1.1 billion. Other funds followed the trajectory we saw in January, with North American equities and mixed asset funds continuing to see modest inflows in February. Meanwhile, UK equities faced another difficult month, with outflows hitting £1.6 billion in February, as investors failed to respond to the slightly improved outlook for the UK..

“With the tax year having come to a close this week, savers across the UK have been taking advantage of their annual ISA allowance. Stocks and shares ISAs, which can be invested in funds, can provide a valuable, tax-efficient way to save for the future. Our research shows that those who’ve been able to weather the cost-of-living crisis are continuing to put money aside and are looking to stay invested in the long-term, with saving for retirement the primary goal for those investing through a stocks and shares ISA.”




Funds Under Management  

Net Retail Sales  

Net Institutional Sales  

February 2023

£1.4 trillion 

£409 million

-£1.5 billion

February 2022

£1.5 trillion 

-£2.5 billion

-£846 million



The five best-selling Investment Association sectors for February 2023 were:   

  1. North America with net retail sales of £454 million. 

  2. Corporate Bond was second with net retail sales of £279 million. 

  3. Mixed Bond followed with net retail sales of £232 million. 

  4. Global Inflation Linked Bond was fourth this month with net retail sales of £170 million. 

  5. Global Equity Income was fifth with net retail sales of £168 million.  

The worst-selling Investment Association sector in February 2023 was UK All Companies, which experienced outflows of £1.3 billion.



Fixed Income funds saw inflows of £1.1 billion.   

Mixed Asset funds saw inflows of £652 million.

Other funds (which includes the Targeted Absolute Return, Volatility Managed, and Unclassified sectors) saw £253 million in inflows.

Property funds experienced £69 million in outflows.

Equity funds saw outflows of £696 million.

Money Market saw outflows of £882 million.



North America funds saw net retail inflows of £557 billion.

Japan saw inflows of £98 million.

Asia funds turned to outflows at £78 million.

Global funds saw outflows of £279 million.

Europe funds saw outflows of £245 million.

UK funds saw outflows of £1.6 billion.



Tracker funds saw net retail inflows of £264 million in February 2023. Tracker funds under management stood at £297 billion at the end of February. Their overall share of industry funds under management was 21.1%.



Responsible investment funds saw a net retail outflow of £16 million in February 2023. Responsible investment funds under management stood at £94 billion at the end of February. Their overall share of industry funds under management was 6.6%.



Gross retail sales for UK fund platforms totalled £12.5 billion, representing a market share of 50.2%.

Gross retail sales through other UK Intermediaries including IFAs totalled £ 6.7 billion, representing a market share of 26.8%.

Gross retail sales for Discretionary Manager totalled £2.0 billion, representing a market share of 8.2%.

Direct gross retail sales totalled £1.2 billion, representing a market share of 4.6%.

In February, Execution only intermediaries totalled £141 million in gross retail sales and accounted for 0.6% of the market.

For further information, please contact:

Helen Ayres, Head of Communications: [email protected]

T: +44 (0)20 7269 4620

Arianna Schardt, Communications Executive: [email protected]

T: +44 (0)20 7269 4625

IA press office: [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

The research was conducted by Opinium Research via online survey between 30/03/2023 and 04/04/2023. The sample included one sample of 1000 UK investors. To view a summary report: click here.

To see a breakdown of the fund 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.

IA data on responsible investments has been collected using the IA's Responsible Investment Framework. Responsible investment incorporates firm-level and fund-level components. The data presented here is at the fund level where funds are pursuing one or more of the following responsible investment approaches and this approach is referenced in the fund documentation: exclusions; sustainability focus; impact investing.

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:


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 £10 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.
  • 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.