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Investors continue to dump UK equities amid Brexit uncertainty

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
UK equity funds experienced net retail outflows of £315m in July and since the beginning of the year, investors have pulled £3.5bn from this sector.

Investors ploughed nearly £1bn into UK authorised funds in July, pushing funds under management to £1.3trn. This is up on the £1.2trn reported in July 2017, but massively down from the record-breaking £4.1bn net retail sales reported in the same period last year.

Europe, North American and UK equity funds saw net retail outflows of £156m, £256m and £315m respectively, according to the latest figures from The Investment Association.

Global was the best-selling sector with net retail sales of £397m while the Mixed Asset class came top with £549m in net retail sales.

Asia funds saw net retail sales of £72m, followed by Japan with £1m.

Fixed Income attracted net retail sales of £279m, followed by the Money Market which saw £177m of inflows.

While domestic investors have been cautious amid the Brexit uncertainty, July saw the biggest inflows to property funds (£164m) since the Brexit vote.

Jason Hollands, managing director, business, development and communications at Tilney Investment Management, said: “This pattern is further sign of increasing caution by investors against the backdrop of a very long-in-the tooth equity bull market and doubts about how much longer the good times can continue, escalating global trade tensions, the withdrawal of liquidity by central banks across the globe, turmoil in the Emerging Markets and the stalling Brexit process.

“Defensiveness was further evident in the asset choices made by investors with the three best-selling areas being mixed asset funds, fixed income and property, areas traditionally perceived as being less volatile than equity markets.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Markets have been flying high for some time now, so it’s natural for investors to exhibit caution when committing new funds. However, it’s important to remember this is still a two-way street, and stock prices can move in either direction without defying the laws of statistics. Investors who are concerned about market levels can simply set up a regular monthly savings plan which takes the angst out of market timing.”

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