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What's everyone else doing?

11 July, 2017

In a month where many of us are doubting our own sanity for living in a rain swept island in the Atlantic, Twitter is doubting the sanity of the US president and the Chelsea boss accuses Mourinho of “senile dementia”, our thoughts may also turn to what markets might do in 2018 against this most wobbly of backdrops!

And of course the short and unsatisfactory answer is that no-one has a scoobies. One place to start is to consider what everyone else is doing, whether you follow this or not.

Well, according to data released yesterday by the Investment Association (a collective a bit like the WI for fund managers) UK retail investors collectively piled a chunky £4.4 billion into the funds ( market in November. That’s clearly before we spent all of December’s money on Amazon and in the pub!

Gentlemen prefer bonds

What I always think of as a rather odd love affair with ‘fixed income’ or ‘bonds (’ (basically IOUs to Governments or companies which reward you with ‘interest’ as well as a purchase price which hopefully will go up) has continued. For the sixth month in a row, Fixed Income was the best-selling asset class with net retail sales of over £2 billion in the month.

I say odd simply because I tend to have a pretty long-term focus about investing and bonds can be the very wimpy cousins to shares if you’re looking over a 5 year+ time frame[1]

“Mixed Asset (” was the second best-selling asset class with £1.2 billion of net retail sales – this makes sense. This is people buying an investment ready-meal which has been blended for us, shielding us from the tyranny of choice about how to mix up bonds and shares and all that jazz.

In terms of popularity when it comes to sales in stockmarket funds, British retail investors are buying into Europe, then Asia, followed by Japan and then the US. Is Brexit fear biting? Home grown funds saw outflows of £188 million in November as people took profits and/or got the heebiejeebies as market hit new highs.

Let’s get specific

If we look at the most recent bestseller lists on 4 of the biggest DIY investment platforms (Alliance Trust Savings (, Barclays (, Hargreaves ( and Interactive Investor (, Fundsmith Equity is top of the pops, featuring in the top three selling funds for all of them. Lindsell Train Global Equity is also popular, appearing on two bestseller lists.

Asia features strongly. Investors on Barclays Smart Investor are a spicy lot, favouring Baillie Gifford Greater China and Jupiter India as choices number 2 and 3. Hargreaves Lansdown customers couldn’t get enough of First State Asia Focus in December which was their top selling fund.

So there you have it. That’s what other folk are up to. I will leave it to you as to whether you follow suit or stubbornly chart your own path, loudly challenging the sanity of the world, its ‘leaders’ and global stockmarkets too.