Where to put your money? These are the most popular fund platforms for investors in the UK

 
William Turvill
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Cofunds was the biggest UK platform at the end of 2016, Fundscape found (Source: Getty)

Investor confidence bounced up towards the end of 2016, new figures out today show, but failed to make up for a year “overshadowed by political uncertainty”.

Annual platform net sales were down 16 per cent over the year as a whole, from £45bn in 2015 to £38bn in 2016.

This included £10.5bn in the last three months of the year, which made it the best quarter since the end of 2015.

Read more: Two ways investors can cope with uncertainty

The figures have been released by Fundscape, which analysed 19 platforms. Below are some of Fundscape’s stats for the year.

 

Top five plaforms by assets at the end of 2016:

 

Cofunds: £83.7bn

 

Fidelity: £71.5bn

 

Hargreaves Lansdown: £70bn

 

Standard Life (including Elevate): £44.2bn

 

Old Mutual: £42.7bn

Cofunds, which is now part of Aegon, is the biggest UK platform, but online fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown made up a lot of ground, recording the largest asset growth, £11.2bn, during the year.

Top five platforms by asset growth in 2016

Platform Asset growth Growth %
Hargreaves Lansdown £11.2bn 19%
Fidelity £9.7bn 15.8%
Standard Life (including Elevate) £7.1bn 19.1%
Aegon £6.9bn 107.7%
Old Mutual £6.7bn 18.7%

Over the course of the year, Hargreaves Lansdown and Aegon were top of the table for net sales, both pulling in £5.6bn, ahead of Standard Life (£4.6bn), Aviva (£3.5bn) and Zurich (£3.3bn).

In the fourth quarter alone, Aegon’s net sales came in at £1.8bn, ahead of Standard Life (£1.3bn), Hargeaves Lansdown (£1.2bn) and Zurich and Aviva (both £1bn).

Fundscape also broke down its data by different products, showing a strong year for self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).

Fundscape noted that passive funds have been gaining traction in recent times, but the report also found that they only accounted for six per cent of total gross sales and nine per cent of total net sales.

Fundscape chief executive Bella Caridade‐Ferreira said:

Vertically integrated solutions such as Old Mutual and Standard Life have understandably much lower levels of passive activity. But passive business will mushroom on platforms that don’t have their own distribution arms. As a result, we expect to see fund business in 2017 bifurcate between passive and a clutch of ‘hot’ actively managed funds.

On the general environment, she said:

Business in the fourth quarter was a little patchy, but there were signs investors are feeling much more bullish about the future. They’ve accepted that geopolitical uncertainty and low returns are here to stay, and life has to go on. A wall of cash has been building up over the year and that money is now starting to trickle in. 2017 should be a far better year… barring any major incidents that could knock us off course.

Read more: Investors are preparing to inject more cash into private equity this year

Top fund groups by net sales in 2016

Vanguard

Old Mutual

BlackRock

Fidelity

Fundsmith

L&G

Woodford

Royal London

Dimensional

Lindsell Train

Top funds by net sales in 2016

Fundsmith Equity

Woodford Equity Income

BlackRock Cash

IP Global Targeted Returns

Vanguard Life Strategy 60%

Henderson UK Abs Return

Lindsell Train UK Equity

JPM Global Macro Opps

Lindsell Train Global Equity

OM Global Equity Abs Return

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