PEP sales shrink

THE NUMBER of Personal Equity Plans held by investors has shrunk for the first time since they were launched in 1987, according to the unit trust trade body Autif.

Figures for Pep sales in January show only 8.9 million Peps in existence - against more than 9 million in December. The drop comes in spite of unprecedented advertising by Pep providers ahead of their replacement by Individual Savings Accounts in April.

However, existing investors continued to plough money into Peps, with new investments rising by 14 per cent. Between 10 and 12 per cent of the working population now hold a Pep, Autif said.