UKAug 4 2017

Fund sales surge continues despite UK equity woes

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Fund sales surge continues despite UK equity woes
ByTaha Lokhandwala

Another buoyant month for fund sales was hampered only by renewed outflows from UK equity funds of all stripes, latest figures show.

Some £1.1bn was withdrawn from UK equity products in June, according to the Investment Association (IA), with UK All Companies, UK Equity Income and UK Smaller Companies funds all seeing outflows spike.

Investors may have sought to shift money to the Global sector, the month's best selling with £465m of net inflows.

Overall net retail sales for the month stood at £2.9bn, contributing to a record £18.4bn in flows for the first half of the year.

Investors turned towards fixed income strategies in particular in June, the asset class seeing over £1bn of net sales focused on strategic, corporate and even emerging market debt (EMD) funds. The Global Emerging Market Bond sector secured £309m of net inflows, by far the highest level of the year.

There were also £905m of net inflows into mixed asset strategies, which remain the best-selling asset class of the year with £5.7bn in net sales. In comparison, fixed income funds have seen £4.2bn of flows, with £4.1bn moving into equity strategies. Targeted Absolute Return funds - June's second best-selling individual sector - have seen £2.2bn of inflows.

June was a significantly weaker month for equity strategies overall, despite the strong demand for global funds and £188m of inflows into European equity funds.

The asset class witnessed only £166m of net sales, perhaps indicating a saturation point after retail investors poured over £5bn in the funds in the previous three months.

UK funds' woes were mostly to blame. The All Companies sector saw £486m of net outflows in June, adding to the £532m in May. UK Equity Income funds shed £428m - its highest outflow in the past 12 months and a sharp rise from the £23m of net redemptions seen in May. Outflows from UK Smaller Companies funds also spiked to £186m.

UK All Companies has suffered over £1bn of net redemptions this year, while the UK Equity Income sector has now seen a net £389m leave.

Alistair Wainwright, fund market specialist at the IA, said the first half of 2017 had been "extraordinary" for asset managers.

"Net retail sales were once again strong in June. Over the last six months, retail and institutional net sales into UK authorised funds totaled £28.7bn," he said.

"The UK equity sectors were least popular so far this year as investors preferred non-sterling denominated equity funds. June was particularly bad," he added.

Despite weaker flows into equity funds in June, tracker funds secured over £1bn of net sales in the month. Retail investors have placed £5.8bn into passive strategies in 2017, taking total assets to £153bn. Market share has increased 0.6 percentage points to 13.9 per cent.