Investors pull £300m a week from UK equities

Investors pull £300m a week from UK equities

Investors withdrew £300m a week from UK equity funds in July, according to data from the Investment Association. 

The data showed wary investors pulled £1.7bn from equity funds, with the bulk coming from UK funds at £1.2bn in four weeks, or £300m a week. 

European equity funds had outflows of £430m, Japan £205m, while investors pulled £90m from North American equities.

There were also net outflows from property funds and money market funds.

Only the global equity sector attracted net money with inflows of £146m.

This came after UK equity funds attracted £532m of net investment in May, following years of outflows. 

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at AJ Bell, said: “We’re now at the point where investors have pulled more than £13bn out of UK funds since the referendum vote, with the UK remaining one of the most unloved regions for professional fund managers too.

"The inflows we saw during May now appear to be a blip, rather than a turning tide in investor sentiment.

“The only equity sector to see significant inflows was global funds. This is unsurprising as Brexit paralysis hits the UK and fears abroad of trade wars, changing interest rate policy and increasing tensions in Asia mean investors are spreading their risk across different markets rather than picking one.” 

David Scott, of advice firm Andrews Gwynne in Leeds, said: “At a time when every equity market looks expensive, the UK market looks cheap. But it is not enough for us to want to dip our toe in given the political uncertainty.

"We have been skeptical about investing in equities for some time, and recent events have not changed that, we think the US is heading for a recession, Europe is basically in a recession now, and so is the UK.

"In a recession equity markets typically halve, so they are not attractive to us right now. I think investors have bought global funds because they have performed well of late, especially with sterling being weak.

"The risk is sterling strengthens and those gains go into reverse.”

The best selling asset class, according to the IA data, was Sterling Strategic Bond with net inflows of £2.2bn.

Strategic bond funds can invest in any part of the bond market, rather than being confined to bonds with a specific credit rating. 

Bonds are generally regarded as a lower risk asset class than equities, because the owner of a bond receives their return before the owners of shares in a company receive a share of the profits.

Mr Scott said: “We like strategic bond funds and have put money into the Jupiter fund recently.

"The thing to ensure though is that you pick a strategic bond fund that can also short-sell, as it may be in the current climate they make as much from short-selling as they do from making investments in bonds they expect to rise in value.”