Investments  

Isa sales hit lowest level since financial crisis

Isa sales hit lowest level since financial crisis

Net sales of Isas were at their the lowest for a decade in 2019 as political uncertainty gripped the market. 

Data compiled by consultancy firm Fundscape shows investors placed a net £3.7bn into Isas in the 2019 calendar year. 

This accounted for 12.4 per cent of the total of net new money placed on UK platforms in 2019.

Bella Caridade Ferreira, who compiled the report, said the net sales figure was the lowest since 2008, and 2009, at the height of the financial crisis.

She said: "2019 was a tough year for the investment industry. The all-important Isa season in the first half of the year was a damp squib with half the usual volume of net sales thanks to last-minute Brexit negotiations and political brinkmanship. This set the tone for the rest of the year.

"With the outlook crystal clear after the general election, sales flows rose markedly in the last weeks of December. Since then, platforms have reported bumper January sales, so things are looking up for a bumper Isa season and a strong start to 2020."

She added that platform sales were severely dented in 2019 by the decline in the volume of pension transfer business carried out.

She said such transfers had “all but dried up” in the first half of 2019.

Despite this the bulk of new business, 77 per cent, on platforms in 2019 came from Sipp and pension sales, amounting to £22.7bn. 

Overall, platform assets grew by 18 per cent to £112.1bn, with Ms Caridade Ferreira stating the increase was mostly the result of rising markets. 

The 18 per cent growth rate was more than three times the level of the previous year, when the total assets grew by just more than 5 per cent. However it was slightly below the 20.9 per cent growth rate of 2017.

Total net sales on platforms were £29.7bn, compared with £44.9bn in 2018 and £55.7bn in 2017. The net sales figure was the lowest since 2013. 

david.thorpe@ft.com

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