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Press Release

Monday 9 May 2011


Investment fund statistics - March 2011

The Investment Management Association today publishes its monthly fund statistics for March 2011.

Key findings: 

  • Best ISA season for 9 years with net sales of £956 million from 1st March  - 5th April 2011
  • Net ISA sales of £3.7 billion make 2010/2011 the second best tax year in 10 years
  • £1.9 billion net retail sales in March, though net retail sales for Quarter 1 are the lowest in two years 
  • £ Strategic Bond the best selling sector in March

Jane Lowe, Director of Markets at the Investment Management Association (IMA), comments:

"The last two tax years have together seen a big jump in ISA inflows to more than £7.5 billion.  This coincides with two increases to the annual allowance in October 2009 and April 2010 and compares starkly to ISA outflows of over £5 billion over the preceding five years. 

“In terms of net retail sales equity funds have remained the top choice for retail investors over the last five months."


The 2010/2011 tax year was the second best in 10 years with net ISA sales of £3.7 billion.  The ISA season, covering the period 1st March – 5th April 2011 was the best in 9 years with net sales of £956 million.  ISAs make up 18% of all authorised funds under management.


Tax Year

Full tax year


1 Mar to 5 Apr

1 - 5 Apr

Jan - 5 April

2010 - 11

£3,677 million

£685 million

£956 million

£349 million

£1,034 million

2009 - 10

£3,991 million

£1,070 million

£847 million

£152 million

£1,222 million

2008 - 09

-£305 million

£395 million

£617 million

£208 million

£603 million

2007 - 08

-£1,677 million

-£449 million

£319 million

£256 million

-£193 million

2006 - 07

-£887 million

-£198 million

£648 million

£423 million

£225 million

2005 - 06

-£1,251 million

-£70 million

£547 million

£321 million

£251 million

2004 - 05

 -£1,187 million

-£136 million

£530 million

£327 million

£191 million

2003 - 04

£1,645 million

£255 million

£476 million

£247 million

£502 million

2002 - 03

£1,538 million

£91 million

£459 million

£248 million

£339 million

2001 - 02

£3,308 million

£847 million

£1,158 million

£591 million

£1,438 million

2000 - 01

£5,862 million

£1,527 million

£1,518 million

£633 million

£2,160 million

NB: From January 2008, ISA figures are based on ISAs provided by fund companies and five platforms (Cofunds, Fidelity, Hargreaves Landsdown, Skandia and Transact). Figures for earlier years cover slightly less platform business. All figures include former PEPs. 


March 2011 £583.2 billion £1.9 million
March 2010 £509.9 billion £2.1 million


March saw net retail sales of £1.9 billion, in line both with February and the monthly average of £1.9 billion for the previous 12 months.  Quarter 1 2011 net retail sales of £4.7 billion was the lowest selling quarter since quarter 1 2009 when net retail sales were £4.1 billion. 


Funds under management in March totalled £583.2 billion, up 1% on February. (The FTSE 100 closed at 5,909 at the end of March, down 1.4% on February 2011 (5,994)).

Funds under management for ISAs were slightly up on February, at £106.4 billion in March 2011.

(See Table 2)


The leading asset class was equities with net retail sales of £739 million in March.  March was the fifth consecutive month with equities as the best selling asset class after four months of bonds being the best selling.   

Balanced was the second highest selling asset class in March at £411 million with bond sales slightly behind at £394 million.  Quarter 1 2011 was the lowest selling quarter in terms of net retail sales for bond funds (£626 million) since quarter 3 2008.

(See Table 4)


The £ Strategic Bond was the best selling IMA Sector in March, with net retail sales of £337 million, well above the monthly average for the previous 12 months of £221 million and the highest sales since March 2010.

Global was the second most popular IMA Sector in March with £287 million in net retail sales, well above the monthly average for the previous 12 months of £174 million.  This is the 15th month in a row that one of the Global sectors has been in the top five selling sectors.

The Cautious Managed sector was the third most popular IMA Sector in March, with net retail sales at £255 million. 


IMA Sector Asset Class Ranking - 
March 2011
Ranking -  
February 2011
 £ Strategic Bond Bond  1 1
 Global Equity  2 3
 Cautious Managed Balanced  3 5
 Absolute Return - UK Other  4 2
 Japan  Equity  5 6

 (See Table 8d)


Gross retail sales for 'Other Intermediaries' - which includes Wealth Managers and Stockbrokers - totalled £5.4 billion for March. Other Intermediaries continued to take the majority of market share in March, with 51% of total sales.

Gross retail sales through Fund Platforms* totalled £4.2 billion, above the monthly average for the previous 12 months of £3.2 billion. Platforms’ market share was 40% of total gross sales in March 2011.

Direct channels’ gross retail sales totalled £1.1 billion in March, with 10% of total sales.

(See Table 5)


Funds under management for Fund Platforms**were £109 billion in March 2011. 

Net retail sales made through Fund Platforms totalled £1.2 billion in March 2011, making it the best month since January 2008 when this data was first published. 

Gross sales were also the highest since first publication and well up on recent months.  Sales across all products were above average.  As usual at the end of the tax year, ISAs took a higher share of fund sales in March (31%) compared with recent months.

(See Table 6)


Net institutional sales totalled £23.1 million in March 2011. 

(See Table 4)


Overseas domiciled funds saw net retail sales of £163.6 million in March 2011.  Sales of £679 million in quarter 1 made it the highest quarter on record for net retail sales.

March 2011 £29.9 billion £163.6 million £1.7 million
March 2010 £24.3 billion £205.9 million £1.9 million

(See Table 10)


For further information, please contact:
Mona Patel, Head of Communications, IMA, 020 7831 0898 or 07834 089332
Clare Murphy-McGreevey, Press Officer, IMA, 020 7831 0898 or 07843 517618
Richard Winder, Lansons Communications, 020 566 9723
Jennifer Stevens, Lansons Communications, 020 566 9723

The IMA's press releases and statistical information can all be found at

Notes for Editors

For more details on the figures given in the press release, please see tables below.

All tables

1   Summary table
2   Funds under management - by asset class
3   Sales - gross, net and ISAs
4   Sales - net sales by asset class
5   Sales - by distribution channel
6   Sales - by Platforms
7   Sectors - funds under management and sales
8   Sectors - gross and net sales                                     
9   Sectors - best and worst selling
10 Offshore funds - funds under management and sales 
11 Sectors - investment performance


Funds under management - by month
Sales - net retail sales past year

The IMA's figures for fund sales cover UK authorised unit trusts and open ended investment companies (OEICs).  The IMA publishes these figures on a monthly basis.

Funds comprise a key element of the UK's £3 trillion asset management industry, which also covers pension and insurance company funds, including £1 trillion invested on behalf of overseas clients.  Each year the IMA publishes its annual Asset Management Survey, which looks at the industry in the round. 

Net retail sales comprise total retail sales minus repurchases, thus the figures can result in a negative figure or outflow. 

Definition of IMA £ Strategic Bond
Funds which invest at least 80% of their assets in Sterling denominated (or hedged back to Sterling) fixed interest securities. This includes convertibles, preference shares and permanent interest bearing shares (PIBs).  At any point in time the asset allocation of these funds could theoretically place the fund in one of the other Fixed Interest sectors. The funds will remain in this sector on these occasions since it is the Manager's stated intention to retain the right to invest across the Sterling fixed interest credit risk spectrum.

Fund Platforms
* The figure for Fund Platform sales covers 12 Platforms comprising Ascentric, Aviva Wrap, AXA Elevate, Cofunds, Fidelity; Hargreaves Lansdown, James Hay Wrap, Novia, Nucleus, Skandia (including Selestia, Skandia Multifunds and Skandia Life), Standard Life Savings, and Transact. Platform data includes sales made through IFAs as well as direct.
** Five leading Fund Platforms - Cofunds, Fidelity, Hargreaves Lansdown, Skandia and Transact - provide the IMA with figures of their sales, repurchases and funds under administration, with figures going back to January 2008.  The five platforms are providing sales data for ISAs, Personal Pensions, Insurance Bonds, and funds sold without a wrapper (unwrapped).  Between them, these five leading platforms account for around 85% of the gross sales of the full list of Platforms included in the section on retail distribution.

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

Variations in figures
Each month small revisions to the figures may have been made since previous press releases. This reflects additional information received by the IMA.

About the Investment Management Association
The IMA is the trade body for the UK's £3 trillion asset management industry.  The money its members manage is in a wide variety of investment vehicles including authorised investment funds, pension funds and stocks and shares ISAs.  Our purpose is to support and promote a commercially successful and growing UK investment management industry as we seek to improve the financial outcomes for customers - savers and investors.

Investment management association