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Investors return to stock market as risk appetite increases

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Risk appetite among UK investors appears to be making a comeback as Brits continue to plough money into the stock market this ISA season.

According to advisory firm Chelsea Financial Services, equities are the most popular asset class, with UK equity funds remaining the best sellers taking just under 30% of all investor money.

Interest in overseas equities has also grown, with Asia ex Japan funds the most popular (10%) followed by Global equities.

However, just one fixed income sector has made it into the top ten best sellers (Strategic Bonds) and the amount invested in the asset class has fallen by a quarter from 20% of total sales last year to just 15% today.

Property and Absolute Return funds have also been shunned, attracting less than 1% of sales each.

Interestingly, Europe ex UK has had more interest this year (with almost 7% of sales) than Global Emerging Markets (6%). In addition, North American equities, which are usually greatly under-represented in the portfolios of UK investors, attracted almost 5% of money.

Darius McDermott, managing director of Chelsea, said:

“This follows a trend which began last year, but which has really taken hold this ISA season.”

When it comes to bestselling funds for ISA investments, Invesco Perpetual High Income still tops the list. However, there is just one bond fund in the mix compared with three last year, and Asian funds have shot up the table with Newton Asian Income and First State Asia Pacific Leaders in the top five. There is also a US equity fund, AXA Framlington American Growth, for the first time in many years.

For Junior ISA investments, parents and grandparents are also favouring overseas equities, with more than 50% of investments going into Global, Asia ex Japan and Global Emerging Markets. The best-selling fund for children’s investments so far is Newton Asian Income, followed by Invesco Perpetual High Income and Liontrust Special Situations.

McDermott said: “The majority of Junior ISAs are still being set up on behalf of older children (73%) rather than newborn children, but the overall take up rate has increased significantly in recent months. Applications over the last six months have been more than double those received in the preceding year.”

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