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UK ISA portfolios do not match investors’ appetite for risk, new research shows


Seven tenths (70 per cent) of the nation’s investment ISA portfolio are in sectors with top risk ratings of Five to Seven – even though research shows only 9 per cent of UK adults rate their appetites for risk as being this high.

The analysis, conducted by online investment platform reveals that on a scale of One to Seven where Seven is the highest, 12 per cent of UK investment ISA assets is held in sectors rated Six and 58 per cent in sectors rated Five. The analysis also shows 13 per cent is in sectors rated Four, 16 per cent in Three and 0.2 per cent in Two and One combined.
While UK adults rate their appetite for risk as 2.56 on average, the risk rating of the nation’s overall ISA portfolio is nearly twice as high at 4.82.
Despite this, research among UK adults shows that on a scale of One to Seven, 19 per cent rate their own risk appetites as being One; 15 per cent as Two; 24 per cent as Three; 21 per cent as Four; 5 per cent as Five; and only 2 per cent each in Six and Seven.
Nick Curry (pictured), Director at, says: “Many investors in the UK are just not aware of how risky their investments are. Most providers do not display the risk ratings when people are buying funds and even when they are, ratings and other information can be hard to find.
“All fund providers should be displaying the risk levels of their funds clearly, both before and after investing. If necessary, this should be enforced by the regulator.”
Evidence shows that when investors do have risk data their investments more closely align with their stated appetites. For example, the target risk level tool on is used by 49 per cent of the platform’s users. Of these investors, 92 per cent are close to their targets in that their portfolio SRRIs are within one level of their requirements, including 60 per cent who are exactly on target.
In a survey of investment platforms commissioned by earlier this year, personal finance expert Andrew Hagger of MoneyComms found that only 10 out of 19 of them offered filter tools for investors to match funds to their risk profiles.
Curry adds: “There is a danger that mismatches could get even wider as post the Retail Distribution Review, investors with smaller amounts to invest are being spurned by financial advisers and they are undertaking their own investment decisions, many of them with little or no understanding of the risks they are taking. This is especially true of the 3.66 million UK investors who like – or are being forced – to construct their own portfolios.”

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