Total net retail sales for 2008 were down to £3.9bn compared with £9.5bn in 2007 and are the lowest since 1995, according to the latest figures from the IMA.
Europe Ex UK saw the biggest negative outflows of any sector in 2008 losing nearly £2bn.
UK All Companies saw the second highest net outflows losing nearly £1.4bn to 31 December 2008, while UK Smaller Companies saw the fourth highest outflows of £394m.
ISAs also saw outflows of £1.6bn in 2008 and were the lowest on record. IMA chief executive, Dick Saunders, suggests this is the continuation of a long phase of money gradually being invested in other areas like property but says this is a trend which may change.
The £ Corporate bond and Absolute Return sectors however, topped the list of highest inflows attracting £1.5bn and £1.3bn respectively during the year.
The pattern of retail investment over the year had been fairly sporadic according to the figures with sales peaking in April at just over £1.5bn.
Outflows rose again in July as the banking crisis knocked confidence but improved towards the end of the year reaching £1.5bn in December.
Saunders says: "This year's figures tell us investors are looking around for different asset classes and are taking their time to consider where to invest.
"The Absolute Return and Corporate bond sectors have been particularly popular as investors look for good returns with less risk.
"This is completely understandable although I would say the continued popularity of these sectors, particularly Absolute Return, will depend on how they perform next year."IFAonline
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