Baillie Gifford was the top selling fund group in the UK last year with net sales of £3.1 billion, according to the Pridham Report.
The haul lifted it four places up the fund sales league from fifth spot in 2017.
There is real sales momentum building at the Edinburgh investment house, which recently celebrated its 110th birthday and controls £173 billion in assets.
Last year's inflow was second consecutive time it had shattered its annual sales record after it pulled in £1.9 billion in 2017 after an aggressive campaign promoting its strengths in active management.
The data, contained in the annual edition of the quarterly sales ledger the Pridham Report, reflected much more circumspect appetite for investment however.
Both 2017’s top- and second-placed houses reported higher annual sales than Baillie Gifford’s 2018 total, with the-then Old Mutual and BlackRock netting inflows of £3.4 billion and £3.3 billion, respectively.
She said idiosyncratic strengths had come to the fore as fund buyers had turned more cautious.
‘After a bumper 2017, fund managers fortunes slumped again last year. Global and Brexit uncertainties held investors back and there was also a slowdown in pension related fund sales within Sipps as the pensions freedom backlog diminished.’
BlackRock suffered from both its dominant position in beta products and declining demand for passive exposure.
While the house led the league table once again on gross sales with £26.8 billion in new sales, redemptions were high enough to dump the house out of the net sales top 10 altogether.
The house was among a number of industry titans, such as Fidelity, Schroders, Jupiter and Invesco, who tumbled out of the top 10 for net sales, despite continuing to report industry-leading gross inflows (see below).
Legal & General was among the relatively resilient, with a dip from 2017 sales of £2.8 billion to £2.5 billion, strong enough to boost it from third to second place.
That pattern was echoed by FundSmith (led by Terry Smith, pictured below) – which recently entered into a very public spat with Hargreaves Lansdown over its retail sales strategy – which climbed from fourth to third place in the net sales table on sales of £2.13 billion, down from £2.18 billion previously.
Pridham added: ‘In the fourth quarter, Liontrust ranked third for net sales, helped by strong flows into Liontrust Special Situtations and increasing sales of its bond and sustainable funds.’