Net retail sales for Q1 2012 have slumped considerably compared to the two previous years, according to the Investment Management Association (IMA).
In its sales figures for March, the IMA reported that in the first quarter of 2012, net retail sales totalled £3.8bn. This is a significant fall from the first two quarters of 2011 and 2010 which saw net retail sales of more than £6bn.
Net retail sales for March alone totalled £1.4bn, down on last March's total of £2.7bn.
Total funds under management for March were £613.2bn, slightly down on February's £615.6bn.
For the seventh consecutive month, fixed income was the most popular asset class, contributing net retail sales of £660m in March.
The average monthly sales of fixed income funds over the past 12 months has been £465m.
Following fixed income, mixed asset was the second best seller in March at £348m.
Net sales of equity funds were just positive at £17m, lower than January and February, but an improvement on the second half of 2011 when sales were negative.
£ Strategic Bond was the best selling IMA sector with net retail sales of £366m, well above the monthly average for the previous 12 months of £211m and the highest sales since April 2011.
The second most popular sector was Mixed Investment (20-60% shares) with £232 million in net retail sales for March, closely followed in third place by the £ Corporate Bond sector with net retail sales of £219m.
"Investor appetite picked up in the first quarter which saw stronger inflows than during the second half of 2011," said Richard Saunders, chief executive of the IMA (pictured).
"In March, fixed income funds continued to see the strongest inflows from retail investors, who continue not to add significantly to their overall holdings of equities. Both reflect a trend which has been apparent since last summer," he added.
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