Investors pour record pounds 9bn into unit trusts

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The Independent Online
MORE money than ever before was invested in unit trusts last year, according to the Association of Unit Trusts and Investment Funds.

Net investment in 1993 was pounds 9.1bn - 44 per cent above the last record-breaking year of 1987 and more than 10 times ahead of 1992.

About pounds 5bn of the total invested came from private individuals, the rest from institutions.

Unit trust personal equity plans also had a record year. Net sales were pounds 3bn, more than double the previous year's pounds 1.2bn. PEPs accounted for 61 per cent of net retail investment.

Philip Warland, director-general of Autif, said that despite the enormous surge in sales the penetration of unit trusts was low - 'only 1.5 million out of a total target market of 23 million'.

The most popular area of investment was the UK and particularly the British growth sector, which had pounds 1.4bn of net new investment.

Mr Warland said UK investment was unlikely to be so good this year. 'Some time during 1994 there will be some sort of market correction,' he warned. He predicted that the British market could fall by as much as 10 per cent, but would then start to climb back.

He forecast that sales of unit trusts would continue to grow at the expense of life products.

He thought new rules forcing life companies to disclose their commission in cash terms when a product was sold would have a negative impact on life product sales.