Investment Statistics

How many Brits are investing in stocks and shares?

Charlie Barton
by , Banking and Investments Publisher

Investing in stocks and shares may seem very “wolf of wall street”, and the idea of starting off can be scary – how do you go around such a complicated topic? And how do you make sure you don’t risk too much while still making a reasonable profit?

However, the number of people who’s decided to give it a go is not as low as you may think: in fact, did you know over 2 million Brits have money invested in stocks and shares? We analysed all the latest investment statistics to give you the low-down.

Quick overview

  • The total value of all stocks traded in the world is $68.212 trillion
  • The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has a market capitalisation of $3.76 trillion
  • 12.4% of UK shares are owned by individuals
  • 2.2 million people in the UK were subscribed to a Stocks & Shares ISA account in 2019
  • Of those with Stocks & Shares ISAs, only 43.5% are women

Who owns UK shares?

Shares in the UK are traded on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). These shares are available to buy by any individual or company around the world, so who owns the most?

  • 12.4% of UK shares are owned by individuals
  • The majority of shares are owned by people or businesses overseas, at 53.7%
Owner Percent
Rest of the world 53.7%
Individuals 12.4%
Unit trusts 9.1%
Other financial institutions 7.1%
Insurance companies 5.9%
Pension funds 3%
Public sector 2.6%
Private non-financial corporations 2%
Investment trusts 1.8%
Banks 1.4%
Charities, church, etc 1.1%

Who is and who isn’t buying stocks and shares?

The risky world of stocks and shares isn’t for everyone, so who is and who isn’t buying shares in the UK?

  • 2.2 million people in the UK were subscribed to a stocks & shares ISA account in 2019
  • Only 43.5% of these ISAs were held by women (957,000)
  • While 56.5% of Stocks and Shares ISAs are held by men (1.25 million)
  • The average Stocks & Shares ISA account is worth £27,000
  • Men have slightly more money in their Stocks & Shares ISAs at £29,500 compared to £25,800 for women

Why aren’t women investing in shares?

What is causing fewer women to invest than men in the UK? Research from Scottish Friendly suggests that 2.6 million women have been put off investing by the number of funds available to them.

  • 43% of women say they haven’t invested because there are too many funds to choose from.
  • 70% say getting back their original investment is more important than achieving big financial gains.
  • Of those women surveyed, 40% were unaware you could save in more than one type of ISA in the same tax year.

UK Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is the amount of money British individuals or businesses have invested in other countries. So how much money has been invested by the UK and into the UK?

  • Inward FDI fell from £192 billion in 2016 to £92.4 billion in 2017
  • Japan accounted for the most FDI into the UK, contributing £27.1 billion (29%)
  • Outward FDI totalled £91.4 billion in 2017, the highest amount since 2008
  • The overwhelming majority of this outward FDI was into the USA (£88.5 billion)

Sources used

  • Stock Market Clock
  • House of Commons Library
  • World Bank
  • Scottish Friendly

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 3828 1338

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