Investors increase cash Isa exposure in 2016


Despite poor returns on cash deposits topping the list of investor worries, more than a quarter of investors are favouring cash individual savings accounts (Isas) this year.

Research from the Association of Investment Companies using Interactive Investor found that 26% of investors favour cash Isas in 2016 compared to 10% a year ago.

Three out of ten investors are opting for only stocks and shares Isas, slightly down on a year ago (37%).

Investors were not confident about investing in the stock market during the turbulent conditions at the beginning of the year according to the study conducted with private investors between 13 January and 12 February 2016.

What’s the worry?

When asked what was the biggest threat to their finances, the three worries, in equal measure, were poor returns on cash deposits, China’s market triggering more stock market volatility and a stock market crash (all 18%).

Spooked stock markets - should you care?

The number of investors increasing their stock market investments halved at the beginning of this year to a quarter (25%), down from 49% a year ago.  However, investors were not panicking – only 8% said they were actively decreasing their stock market exposure, slightly less than the same period last year (9%).

Of the quarter of investors who said they were actively increasing their investments, over half (54%) said they were taking advantage of the stock market volatility, whilst the second most popular reason was the poor rates of interest available on savings accounts (16%).

UK still top spot

The UK remains the most favoured region to invest, with just over a quarter favouring the UK.  Europe was the second most popular region (13%). 

Smaller Companies take the top spot as the most favoured sector, with over a fifth (22%) of investors favouring this sector. Smaller companies were in joint second place last year alongside blue chips, which interestingly, have completely fallen out of favour this year with investors.  Last year, blue chips were favoured by 14% of investors and this has now shrunk to 7%. The second most favoured sector this year was pharmaceuticals/healthcare (12%). 

Annabel Brodie-Smith, communications director, Association of Investment Companies (AIC), says: “It’s encouraging to see there is no panic selling. Given the volatile start to the year, it’s worth remembering the benefits of  regular saving, which can smooth out some of those stomach churning highs and lows in the price of shares. 

Known as pound cost averaging, it means investors buy fewer shares when markets are high, and more when markets are low, removing some of the risk of market timing.” 

The 2016 survey was conducted amongst users of Interactive Investor products including, and Money between 13 January - 12 February 2016 with a sample size of 838 investors.  The 2015 research was conducted on behalf of the AIC by amongst 957 of its users from 12 January – 12 February 2015.