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Woodford boost pushes UK equity income sales to £1bn in July

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Demand for Neil Woodford’s fund has helped make the UK equity income sector the best-selling category for a second month in a row.

The latest statistics form the Investment Management Association (IMA) reveal the sector saw net retail sales of £1bn in July, meaning it accounted for more than half the entire £1.9bn of total net retail sales. It also accounted for the majority of equity fund sales, which were just over £1bn.

The second best-selling sector was property, with sales of £304m.

Sales of tracker funds also reached record highs, with net retail sales of £532m.

The launch of Woodford’s fund has helped UK equity income sales to soar, with the manager’s fund having swelled to nearly £2.4bn now, compared to the £1.6bn it stood at following the close of the offer period in June.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Last month we saw the Woodford effect propel UK Equity Income to the top of the sales charts.

“We suspect this month we are seeing a ripple of that effect, as coupon-clipping investors in the Invesco Perpetual High Income fund stayed for the ex-dividend date on 1st July, then switched across to Woodford’s new fund.

“Indeed it is notable that the worst selling sector in July was UK All Companies, the sector in which the Invesco Perpetual High Income fund now sits.”

Equity continued to be the best-selling asset class, followed by mixed asset and property. The UK was the best-selling region, while Asian and global funds saw inflows of £203m and £163m respectively.

By contrast, European and North American funds both saw outflows, a reversal of the trend of the previous month.

IMA director of public policy Jonathan Lipkin said: “Net retail sales remained strong in July at £1.9bn, with equity funds again leading the way.

As in June, a key feature was very strong sales of UK Equity Income funds, which took in £1bn.”

UK fund platforms accounted for a 59 er cent market share of gross retail sales, at £8.1bn. Cofunds, Fidelity, Hargreaves Lansdown, Skandia and Transact reported net sales of £945m. For these five fund platforms, funds under management at the end of July were £172bn, compared with £153bn a year earlier.

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