InvestmentsMar 20 2023

Oil majors remain popular with investors of all ages

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Oil majors remain popular with investors of all ages
In 2022 Shell profits more than double to a record $40bn. (Justin Tallis/Getty Images)

Oil majors are still popular with investors of all ages, despite an increased interest in ESG investing among young people. 

According to data from Hargreaves Lansdown, BP and Shell remain in the top 10 equities among both the under and over 55s, as investors seek to benefit from the strong dividends history of both companies.

Both companies also feature in the top 10 equities list for Junior Isas too, alongside other companies like Apple, Barclays, GSK and Tesla. 

Last year, Shell saw its profits more than double to a record $40bn as it benefited from high oil and gas prices due to the upheaval in energy markets caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Likewise, BP profits also doubled to a record £28bn in 2022. 

Meanwhile, in the latest IPCC summary, released today (March 20), over 100 of the world's top scientists again warned that to achieve net zero and prevent environmental breakdown a “substantial reduction” in the use of coal, oil and gas is required.

Top shares (alphabetical) by age group








International Consolidated Airlines Group


Legal & General Group

Legal & General Group

Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group

Microsoft Corporation

National Grid

Rolls Royce Holdings

Rio Tinto





“Older and younger investors have some striking differences when it comes to their portfolios, but an awful lot of it is driven by them tailoring their investments to their stage in life,” Emma Wall, head of investment analysis and research at Hargreaves Lansdown said.

“When it comes to their overall approach, they have more that unites than divides them.

“Both older and younger investors are looking for positive growth stories.”

However, Wall noted that different generations are seeking opportunities in different places, with younger investors more likely to have technology companies in their portfolios. 

“Parents also favour these stocks for their Jisa portfolios. Meanwhile, older investors see the potential in pharmaceuticals as the population ages,” Wall said. 

She also noted that investors’ approaches to trading also varied by age. 

“Those aged 65 plus trade the least, followed by those aged 18-29, and investors aged 30-54. 

“Those aged 55-64 trade much more than their nearest rival, but that may be because they are approaching retirement and need to position their portfolio differently for capital protection and income rather than growth.”

Older generation marginally more into ESG

Wall explained that when it comes to selecting funds, there were some themes that appeal across all generations. 

“All have exposure to global funds, and to those that spread the net far and wide,” she said.

Younger investors favour tracker funds, which offer exposure to long term growth at a low cost. They also have some smaller company funds in the mix, which reflects the fact that those with a longer time horizon tend to be able to take a little more risk.