Brexodus: Retail investors took £3.5bn out of funds in referendum month, "eclipsing" financial crisis outflows

William Turvill
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Britain Reacts To The EU Referendum Result
The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June (Source: Getty)

Retail investors fled investment funds at a “quite extraordinary” rate in the EU referendum month, new figures show.

The Investment Association’s figures for June, published today, show £3.5bn was taken out of funds, including £2.8bn from equity funds and £1.4bn from property funds.

In the weeks after the referendum, trading on several property funds was suspended as investors took flight.

“The scale of the exodus from investment funds in June is quite extraordinary, with the Brexit vote eclipsing the financial crisis in terms of putting the frighteners on retail investors in the short term,” said Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

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He compared June’s £3.5bn outflow with £561m in January 2008, the worst month for withdrawals during the financial crisis. But he pointed out that assets under management are now around twice as high as they were back then.

Khalaf also said that retail investors who withdrew from equity funds “are probably regretting this decision in light of the performance of the stock market since the referendum”.

The Investment Association highlighted the fact that, despite June’s outflows, funds under management rose to a 12-month high of £948bn.

Guy Sears, interim chief executive of the body, said: "The retail outflow in June occurred in the context of record levels of funds under management, and represented just 0.37 per cent of total assets during a period of intense market volatility.

Read more: Brexocalypse now: Shares and property hit as investor confidence plummets

"Clearly, Brexit has been unsettling, with property and equity funds particularly affected following earlier outflows during 2016. At the same time, flows were positive into fixed income and targeted absolute return sectors as investors sought safer harbours."

He added: "In the first six months of this year, industry funds under management grew by £22.6bn. Fixed income funds saw the largest growth in funds under management in the year to the end of June with £13bn. Funds under management in mixed asset funds increased by £5.2bn and equity funds grew by £1.4bn."